Back to top

Fall 2017: AIIS Speaker Series

In Fall 2017, the American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) Speaker Series will feature the following scholars every other Friday, 11:15 am- 1:10 pm, 400 Caldwell Hall. These lectures are part of a bi-weekly graduate seminar (required for graduate students getting a minor in AIIS). They are open to the public to attend.

SEP 15: Beth Piatote

Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley                                                                                                                                                                    

Visions of Indigenous Law in Louise Edrich's La RoseBeth Piatote Flyer

This novel, LaRose, is the second in a trilogy that plays out across a broad swath of time and cuts through a central locus of space—the Ojibwe homelands that become the reservation and the township of Pluto, North Dakota. Each of the novels opens with a devastating act of violence, and follows various legal (and extra-legal) forms of justice. As they unfold, the novels show the failures of law, whether indigenous or settler-colonial, to provide satisfaction, or what we may consider “justice” in the face of loss. Given the failures of “justice,” the question arises whether the “pursuit of justice” is a reasonable purpose of law at all.

About the Speaker: Beth Piatote is an associate professor of Native American Studies and affiliated faculty in American Studies and the department of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include Native American literature, history, and law; Nez Perce language and literature; indigenous language revitalization; and creative writing. She earned her PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University. Profile

SEP 29: Jane Mt. Pleasant and Kevin Connelly

Associate Professor, Cornell University

Haudenosaunee Food Sovereignty: Exploring Indigenous Mt. Pleasant flyer

Conceptual Space Using Agriculture and Linguistics 

Every human community grapples with how to feed itself. Currently, Indigenous peoples are struggling to realign their food systems with cultural values, to assert control over food from ground to table. Often referred to as food sovereignty, it is fundamental to the revitalization of indigenous communities as viable political, social, cultural, and economic entities. In this seminar Mt.Pleasant, an agronomist, and Connelly, a linguist and soil scientist, analyze Words that Come Before all Else (The Address of Thanksgiving), a Haudenosaunee speech that defines human relationships within the rest of creation. In our analysis we identify an indigenous conceptual space. We claim that Haudenosaunee food sovereignty springs from this very space.  

OCT 27: Tiara R. Na'Puti

Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

Strategies of Resistance in the Marianas: Militarization, Dispossession, & the Environment

This project examines some of the indigenous and local responses to challenge US militarization and colonization in the Mariana Islands archipelago, particularly focusing on the controversial U.S. military buildup plans to use the Marianas as part of a sprawling military training complex. Navigating from Guåhan, Tinian, Saipan, and Pågan islands, Tiara explores the deep connections that taotao tåno’ (people of the land, Chamorus) have with the environment in order to reframe issues of climate change and environmental degradation through an anti-colonial lens. This examination of the ongoing decolonization movement focuses on rhetorical strategies of resistance to the environmental impacts of militarization and to the U.S. settler-state.


About the Speaker: Tiara R. Na’puti is a member of the Chamoru (Chamorro) diaspora from Guåhan (Guam), and is the granddaughter of Ana Guerrero Naputi (familian Robat) and Vicente Benavente Naputi (familian Kaderon). She is an Assistant Professor of Communication and a core faculty member at the Center for Native American Indigenous Studies (CNAIS) at University of Colorado Boulder.


NOV 10: Fikile Nxumalo

Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin                                                                                                                                                              

Decolonizing Place-Based Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education

Beginning with the premise that there is an urgent need for early childhood education to find new ways of critically and generatively encountering, engaging with, and pedagogically responding to the entanglements of anthropogenically damaged places and settler colonial legacies, this presentation engages with the significance of decolonial orientations to place-based environmental pedagogies in early childhood settings. Drawing from a multi-year participatory action research project with educators and children in suburban settings on unceded Coast Salish territories in British Columbia, Canada, the presentation brings attention to Indigenous presences and land relations as necessary, yet often ignored aspects of environmental education in settler colonial contexts. Using an approach referred to as refiguring presences – that is refiguring as re-animating, re-thinking, and relating to the Indigenous presences so often erased in settler colonial curriculum, the presentation examines the possibilities of refiguring presences in everyday encounters for generating a politicized (re)storying of settler colonial places with young children.

About the Speaker: Fikile Nxumalo is an assistant professor in Early Childhood Education in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also affiliated faculty with African and African Diaspora Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. Her research interests are centered on environmental and place-attuned early childhood studies that are situated within and responsive to young children’s uneven anthropogenic and settler colonial inheritances. This scholarship, which is published in journals including Environmental Education Research, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and Environmental Humanities, is rooted in perspectives from Indigenous knowledges, Black feminist geographies, and posthumanist theories. Profile

 NOV 17: Bradley Pecore

Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of History of Art and Visual Studies, AIISP, Cornell University

“The World Ends: Ethnographic Knowledge and Early Colonial Governance in the Western Hemisphere, 1410-1535”

Bradley Pecore is a visual historian examining Native American and Indigenous aesthetics. He specializes in the History of Native American Art, American Art, Museum and Curatorial Studies. 

Dec 1: Ula Piasta-Mansfield

Ph.D., American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Cornell University                                                                                                                                    

The Perfect Crime: How Europeans Stole Indigenous Land and Forgot about it

In the fields of Indigenous as well as Colonial/Settler Colonial Studies, the Doctrine of Discovery has received a considerable attention as the origin story for a settler state such as the United States. However, I would argue that the Doctrine, while useful in capturing the tenor and the overall fabric of European colonization, does not adequately explain the various facets of this story, especially the story of the land. Preemption, i.e. the exclusive right of first purchase of Indigenous lands, is one those blind spots: the most understudied instrument in the formation of the settler colonial state. The goal of this paper is not so much to define or situate preemption historically as it is to critically evaluate the processes it launched and the precedence it set for the Indigenous-Euro-American relations in solidifying the Western property discourse on this continent.

About the Speaker: Urszula Piasta-Mansfield, Ph.D. is an allied scholar in Indigenous Studies, interested in the discourses of dispossession and settler colonialism through a lens of the preemption rights doctrine. Most recently, she has been researching the relationships between dispossession of Indigenous peoples, public lands and land grant institutions, as well as the history of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. Her work also includes co-curated exhibitions: Ah-Theuh-Neyh-Hah  (The Planting Moon) and The Sustainers, 2016-2017 at Cornell Botanic Gardens; Ogwe:owe Consciousness as Peace, 2014 at Cornell Plantations; book chapter, “Seneca Resistance: Surviving the Kinzua Dam,” 2012. She works as a Lecturer/Extension Associate in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Profile



This seminar is led by Dr. Troy Richardson, Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS). For a full course description please visit our Online Course Roster