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News and Events


Please join us on Thursday, February 24, at 3:00 p.m., for the 7th Annual Linda Parker Memorial Lecture, featuring guest speaker Dr. Sarah Whitt (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma).

Dr. Whitt will speak on adult American Indian women’s and men's experiences at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, PA, the U.S.'s first off-reservation residential facility.

This virtual lecture is free and open to the public. Please join on Zoom at The event is co-sponsored by the Native Resource Center and the Native American Student Alliance.

SAVE THE DATE: San Diego State University Pow Wow - April 9, 2022

This year's San Diego State University Pow Wow is scheduled for April 9, 2022

For more information, visit the Native Resource Center website at, or email them at Mark your calendars!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Virtual Lecture Presented by Digital Humanities at SDSU

Mite Achimowin (Heart Talk): Indigenous Women’s Expressions of Heart Health & Decolonizing Research Methods through Community-Based Digital Storytelling, by Dr. Lorena Sekwan Fontaine

Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at 4:00 p.m.

Virtual lecture on Zoom. Open to the public. Pregistration required:

Dr. Lorena Sekwan Fontaine (Cree and Anishnaabe), Distinguished Professor at the University of Winnipeg and SDSU Fulbright Scholar in American Indian Studies, will present on a community-based study that uses oral history, digital storytelling and learning circles to explore culturally rooted knowledge of heart care among Indigenous women in Canada.

Co-sponsored by the SDSU American Indian Studies Department

Experience Dr. Esme Murdock's talk/interview at the 2021 National Student Leadership Conference

SDSU American Indian Studies professor  Esme Murdock spoke on the topics of environmental colonization and environmental justice at the National Student Leadership Conference, at the University of San Diego on July 28, 2021.

"Basically the way that people conceive of the natural world is deeply cultural. There's a way that the traditions of your ancestors are directly related to how you exist in the world." -Esme Murdock

An exploration of her lecture is available on the NSLC YouTube channel, at the following link:

Asst. Prof. Murdock to teach Environmental Justice course in Fall 2021

PHIL 325 - Environmental Justice 

Instructor: Dr. Esme Murdock, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies 

Schedule: MW(F) 1-1:50PM

Description: What is environmental justice? Who is most affected by environmental injustices? Who is responsible for the state of our environmentally degraded world? What can we do to create more just and sustainable futures for all? This course concerns itself with all of these questions and serves as a multidisciplinary introduction to the concept of environmental justice. 

Come and learn more about the histories, roots, and fights for environmental justice for all! No prerequisites   

AMIND Minors and Majors: Speak with your departmental adviser about counting this class toward your minor, or as a major elective. 

Enroll through WebPortal during Fall Registration (Schedule number 22873).

Did you miss it? Check out the Recording


Did you miss our recent lecture with Northern Chumash artist Leah Mata Fragua? Check out the recording to see what you missed!

The lecture is available on our YouTube channel, at the following link:

The SDSU Department of American Indian Studies presents:


Leah Mata Fragua


Wednesday, April 28, 7:00-8:15 p.m.   |   Virtual Event on Zoom

Leah Mata Fragua is a member of the yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini (the people of tiłhini) Northern Chumash Tribe, located on the Central California Coast. Leah works as a contemporary artist creating through intergenerational practices, focused on living forms of regalia and jewelry while building upon ongoing practices in California Indian arts. Her work as a place-based artist is grounded in an understanding of the past that is interdependent with the future and the relationship she has to her homelands

Leah’s education, which includes a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Cultural Sustainability, has afforded her access to various collections and archives, furthering understanding of the technical and material expertise of yak tityu tityu (The People) and resisting the hindered access for community members whose relatives’ works are held in academic collections. 

"My career as a creative artist happened organically, and I have always struggled with the decision to focus solely on art or solely on academia. Thus a few years ago, I made the decision not to actively pursue a career solely in academia or art but rather combine my passion for both and find a balance that works with my definition of success." -Leah Mata Fragua

This event is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by: SDSU Instructionally Related Activity Fund, Native Resource Center, and the Native American Student Alliance.

Zoom Link:

Flyer for 2021 Lecture by Leah Mata Fragua

More Information:

2021 SDSU Native American Graduation Ceremony

Friday, May 7, 5:00 p.m.
Virtually on Zoom

We would like to invite you to the 2021 SDSU Native American Graduation Ceremony, to be held Friday, May 7, at 5:00 p.m., on Zoom

The Native Resource Center, the Department of American Indian Studies, the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, and the Native American Student Alliance are planning a special ceremony in celebration of recent Native American graduates, and students who graduated from the American Indian Studies department. Since we were still unable to hold an in-person ceremony this spring, we wanted to take time this month to honor them at a virtual event. 

If you are graduating and would like to participate, please email us at If you would like to join as a guest, the event is open to all so we encourage you to attend to help us honor and celebrate our graduates. And please share this event with friends, family and colleagues!

 Zoom Link:

Coming soon . . . .

The San Diego Intercollegiate Pow Wow

Flyer for The 2021 San Diego Intercollegiate Pow Wow

Assistant professor Esme G. Murdock joins the American Indian Studies faculty

Our department is honored to welcome SDSU assistant professor Esme Murdock, who has joined our department this semester.

Murdock received her Ph.D. in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University for the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

Her research interests include environmental justice, Indigenous and Afro-descended environmental ethics, settler colonial theory, and decolonization as land/resource rematriation. Murdock comes to this work as a descendant of enslaved Africans and settlers in North America. Her current work explores the devastating impacts of colonization and slavery on both Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples and environments on Turtle Island. She anchors her understanding of settler colonialism, in particular, in the experiences and theorization of Native and Black communities especially toward securing decolonial futures. She often writes back to mainstream environmental discourse that attempts to “read out” colonization as the context of environmental degradation and destruction, particularly in the settler colonies of the United States and Canada. Her work centers conceptions of land and relating to land found within both Indigenous and African American/Afro-descended environmental philosophies. Murdock has work published in Environmental Values, Global Ethics, Hypatia, Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, and World Philosophies

Murdock’s first book manuscript is a project of public ecological (re)memory anchored in the understanding that land has memory. Her methods include both Indigenous memory/re-memory work and Black feminist witnessing. She is, thus, writing a land history of the South Carolina Sea Coast that engages in the diverse and often erased ecological histories, ecological heritages, ethnobotanical knowledges, and complex relations of Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples within the colonial complex of multiple European powers.

Assistant professor Olivia Chilcote featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Congratulations to Prof. Olivia Chilcote for being chosen an Emerging Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. Their January 2021 issue features a series on emerging scholars, and includes an article that delves into Dr. Chilcote's background, research objectives, and her many accomplishments.

To read the article, visit the Diverse magazine website (see Page 18).

Celebrating 45 Years of American Indian Studies at SDSU

Dear Friends,

In 1976, the Native American Studies program at San Diego State University officially became the Department of American Indian Studies. For the first time, the department listed courses with its own course numbers in the SDSU General Catalog. So this year, 2021, marks our 45th anniversary. We are enormously grateful to all of the faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, students and community members who have supported our accomplishments and milestones.

Thank you for being a part of our past, present and future! 

The Annual AIR Banquet is Almost Here! 

27th Annual AIR Banquet
November 19, 2020 - 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Virtually from San Diego County

Dear Community Partners and Supporters, 

Our 27th Annual Awards & Fundraiser Banquet is almost here. Please mark your calendars for our virtual event on November 19th, 2020! AIR is going virtual this year so we have plenty of room for everyone to attend! You can make your tax deductible sponsorships and donations and purchase your raffle tickets all directly from our website at Zoom links will be sent to sponsors in the days before the event and raffle winners will be drawn live during the banquet. Please support our annual fundraising goals! And thank you to everyone who has already donated to AIR this year, we appreciate your support! 

AIR also has posted the latest edition of our newsletter and you can check it out on our websit . We hope you enjoy our updates on the Annual Banquet and meeting this year's awardees. 

Again, we thank all our community partners, supporters and youth participants who have made our programs possible. 


Dwight K. Lomayesva 

AIR Programs, Executive Director

Click Here to View Raffle Prizes

Click Here to Get Raffle Tickets

Click Here for AIR Newsletter

Click Here for Sponsorships

Click Here to Sponsor & Donate

Olivia Chilcote, “They Utterly Refuse”: The San Luis Rey Village’s Struggle for Land and Recognition in San Diego County, 1852-1912"

October 29, 2020, 4 p.m.

Open to the public.

Register on Zoom:

Sponsored by: Critical Mission Studies, SDSU Department of American Indian Studies, UCSD Department of Ethnic Studies, UCSD Native American and Indigenous Studies, UC Riverside Center for Ideas and Society

As the only unrecognized tribe in San Diego County and the only unrecognized band of Luiseño Indians, the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indian’s history and experience is often overshadowed by other federally recognized tribes in the region. In this presentation, Dr. Chilcote analyzes the San Luis Rey Band’s contemporary pursuit for federal recognition as part of a longer history of U.S.-tribal relations and how the tribe’s legal status is tied to histories of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonization in California.

Dr. Olivia Chilcote (San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians) is a Critical Mission Studies Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at UC Riverside and an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. 

Chair: Cliff Trafzer, Department of History, UC Riverside 

Respondent: Charles Sepulveda (Tongva and Acjachemen), Assistant Professor at the University of Utah, Department of Ethnic Studies

Fall 2020 Native American Community Welcome Reception

Friday, August 28

1 p.m. 

Students, faculty, staff and community friends are invited to participate in the Native American Community Welcome Reception, to be held Friday, August 28 at 1 p.m.

Join on Zoom:

          Zoom ID: 99165272386 

Congratulations to our Outstanding Graduating Senior Nyla Luna

The SDSU American Indian Studies faculty have chose major Nyla Luna (Pala) as the department's Outstanding Graduating Senior for 2020.

Every year, each department selects one of their majors to be recognized as its most "Outstanding Student." As the 2020 American Indian Studies Outstanding Graduate, Nyla was given the opportunity to select one faculty member as her "Most Influential Faculty Member." Nyla selected Dr. Margaret Field for this honor.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, Nyla and Dr. Field will be recognized at a future commencement ceremony. Outstanding Graduates will sit on stage with their designated most influential faculty.

In addition, we will honor them at our 2020 Graduation Ceremony, which we hope to hold this November. We will make more details available about this, as soon as we are able to proceed with planning. We also look forward to celebrating all of our 2019-20 graduating students at the ceremony. We hope you will join us in honoring them!

On Campus Job Opportunities

The Native Resource Center is Hiring Students

The SDSU Native Resource Center is hiring for the 2020-21 academic year (August 2020 through May 2021). Two positions are available:

     --Desk Assistant for the Native Resource Center Office

    --Peer Mentor for the Elymash Yuuchaap program

Applications are due May 22, 2020. Zoom interviews will be conducted after the application period closes. 

Click here to apply for the 2020-21 NRC job openings.

Questions? Contact Chris Medellin, 

Department office to close until further notice 

The SDSU American Indian Studies office will be closed until further notice. If you need assistance, please email      

Changes to planned events 

Due to university directives related to COVID-19 concerns, the following upcoming events have been postponed or canceled:

Youth Empowerment Conference - originally scheduled for Saturday, March 14 - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED.

Grand Opening of the Native Resource Center - originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Please check back for updates, or contact us at  

San Diego Art Institute - Call to Artists

Artist Application Deadline March 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM (PST) 

The San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) is requesting proposals from Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cupeño, and Mission indigenous artists who are working in contemporary art for inclusion in Contemporary Indigenous Art: The Pacific Coast exhibition. Two artists will be selected, one to exhibit an existing work and another to receive a commission to create new work.

ABOUT SDI  - The San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) is the premier regional contemporary arts center located in the heart of the historic Balboa Park and serves over 80,000 visitors each year. SDAI reaches communities throughout Southern California and throughout the world due to our regional focus and the global stage that Balboa Park provides. Our mission is to advance regional contemporary art and artists while fostering cultural equity through access to meaningful art experiences. SDAI has been a vibrant element of San Diego’s cultural history for 79 years and is an organization that is inclusive, culturally aware, and emphatic about artistic quality.

CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS ART: THE PACIFIC COAST EXHIBITIO -  SDAI is proud to produce Contemporary Indigenous Art: The Pacific Coast which is the first major contemporary art exhibition in San Diego to focus on contemporary indigenous artists and their communities. SDAI recognizes that indigenous peoples the world over continue to play a central role in some of the most important issues of the 21st century including climate change, racial justice, and voting rights. Yet, they are often relegated to the shadows of the past and ignored in contemporary conversations and representation. SDAI is eager to fill that representational gap in Southern California. Contemporary Indigenous Art: The Pacific Coast runs June 13 to November 1, 2020 and is curated by Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Siksika) who hails from the prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. This show will feature curated artwork from advanced, mid-career, and rising contemporary indigenous artists from Alaska to Baja California.

The exhibition will reach over 25,000 visitors and offers an unprecedented opportunity to place indigenous artists and their communities on center stage while offering visitors a chance to truly engage with contemporary indigenous cultures. SDAI has already confirmed participation from renowned artists Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂), Kent Monkman (Cree), Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache), Jamie Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock), and Jeffrey Gibson (Choctaw-Cherokee).

Curator’s Statement - The exhibition’s primary concern is examining why people continue to love, demand and desire the invented Hollywood Indian rather than know the history and recognize present realities of Native North America. For this show, artists are asked to offer an alternative view from the Hollywood iconic images with insights focused on the diversity and complexity of Indigeneity and celebration of the indigenous person and communities of today.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES - Artist must be an enrolled member from one of the federally recognized tribes in San Diego County and be working in contemporary art. Artwork submission and commission proposals should represent contemporary art, and artists at all stages of their careers are invited to apply. Submit a complete online application by the deadline, 11:59 PM PST on March 30, 2020.

Requirements for Submission of Commission Proposal - SDAI is offering a $4,000 commission to a single artist to create new work for the exhibition. If awarded, the selected artist will need to create the work and have it ready to be installed by May 30, 2020. The application requires a written proposal of 250 words for the commission and background to demonstrate capacity to fulfill the proposal.

Requirements for Submission of Pre-existing Work - SDAI will provide a $200 stipend to one artist to exhibit existing work in the exhibition. If selected, the work needs to be available for installation as of May 30, 2020 and on view for the duration of the exhibition.

STEPS TO APPLY Complete the online application at the link below by 11:59 PM, March 30, 2020.


SDSU Hires Jacob Alvarado Waipuk as Tribal Liaison

Former SDSU student and current department lecturer Jacob Alvarado Waipuk has been hired by the university to fill the newly-created position of Tribal Liaison. Jacob, who is a San Pasqual Reservation resident and Kumeyaay Nation member, received his undergraduate degree in American Indian Studies from SDSU in 2015, and is in the final stages of completing a joint doctorate at the University of California, San Diego and California State University San Marcos.

In his new role as Chair of Tribal Relations, Jacob will work with Indigenous students, assist with recruitment and mentoring, and will work toward achieving more representation and presence for Native students on the campus. Additionally, he will serve as in-house advisor on Native American issues, providing an opportunity to develop stronger relationships with local tribes. Jacob will also assist with campus efforts to promote land acknowledgment of the Kumeyaay, in support of a resolution unanimously approved by the University Senate in September 2019.

We are delighted that Jacob is serving our campus in this new position. We know he will play a leading role in shaping our responsiveness to the needs our Native American students, faculty and staff on campus, and guiding outreach to develop and strengthen ties with tribes throughout the region.

To learn more about Jacob and his new position, read the recently-published SDSU NewsCenter article.


March 10, 2020
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Room 132, Arts and Letters Building
San Diego State University

The SDSU American Indian Studies Department and the Indigenous Archaeologies and Tribal Research (IATR) Lab will offer a workshop on the use and operation of a Bruker Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (or pXRF) device. Bruker representative, Nathan Davies, will lead the workshop featuring the IATR lab’s instrument, a Bruker’s Tracer 5i. There are many applications of this technology for archaeology, geology, art history, and other disciplines. In archaeology, XRF technology has been used to successfully trace different types of obsidian back to its original source location allowing scholars to discuss the implications of this data on exchange networks and social interactions between different groups of peoples. Other applications include similar elemental analysis of glass beads traded in North America, ceramics, pigments or paints, soils, and other materials.

Space is limited and attendees will be selected on a first-come-first-served basis. However, a slight preference in this selection process will be given to individuals who would like to use the instrument for a specific research project within the next year. We will send out a confirmation of acceptance to attendees on March 3rd, one week before the date of the workshop.

For any questions about this workshop, please contact Kate Regan in the American Indian Studies Department at or 619-594-6991.

You are invited...

Attention - This event has been postponed until further notice



On behalf of the Native community at San Diego State University, you are cordially invited to the Grand Opening celebration of the brand-new Native Resource Center. (NOTE: This event has been postponed until further notice) . The program will include welcoming statements, a reading of the SDSU Land Acknowledgement followed by Kumeyaay bird songs, a statement by SDSU President Adela de la Torre, and a ribbon cutting. Food and beverages will be available, and the celebration will conclude with viewings of the Native Resource Center. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Chris Medellin
Interim Assistant Director
Native Resource Center Division of Diversity and Innovation
San Diego State University

This event is free and open to the public.

Flyer for Native Resource Grand Opening

The SDSU Department of American Indian Studies presents:


Circe Sturm, Ph.D.


Mon., March 2, at 4:00 p.m., in Templo Mayor in the SDSU Student Union

Dr. Circe Sturm is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and core faculty in the Native American and Indigenous Studies program. She has spent most of her career trying to understand how Native American individuals and societies come to understand and use categories of sameness and difference, self and other, and how these in turn shape our lived experiences. Her work is situated in the broader, interdisciplinary scholarship on race, sovereignty, citizenship and comparative colonialisms. Her most significant contributions along these lines include two books,  Blood Politics: Race, Culture and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) and Becoming Indian: The Struggle over Cherokee Identity in the 21st Century (Santa Fe, NM: SAR Press, 2011). She is also the editor of “Rethinking Blackness and Indigeneity in the Light of Settler Colonial Theory,” a special issue of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal forthcoming this spring.

This event is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by: Native American and Indigenous Faculty and Staff Association, SDSU Black Faculty Staff Association, Black Women in Academia, Center for Intercultural Relations, Native Resource Center, and the Native American Student Alliance. 

Flyer for 2020 Lecture by Circe Sturm

More Information: 619-594-6991 or


NASA Annual Youth Empowerment Conference - March 14, 2020

Haawka (Kumeyaay greeting),

On behalf of the Native American Student Alliance at San Diego State University (SDSU NASA), we would like to invite you to attend our Annual Youth Empowerment Conference on (Date canceled)! We will be proudly hosting this on Kumeyaay Land at San Diego State University. My name is Kenedi Kraten, and I have the honor of serving as the Conference Coordinator for this year's conference. We would appreciate it if you could share this information with any Native American students, families, staff, and/or counselors within San Diego County.

Each year NASA is able to organize a high school conference for Indigenous youth. The theme for this year's conference is "We Are the New Tradition: Empowerment through Education." With current movements towards reclaiming spaces for Indigenous folks, we hope to empower our Indigenous youth to join these movements, and inspire them to create their own.

The purpose of our conference is to unite Indigenous middle school and high school students and involve them in deconstructing the notion that higher education is only pursuable by students from privileged backgrounds. We want every student to be inspired to pursue various paths of education, whether that be through community college, four-year universities, or other outlets of success. We would greatly appreciate it if you can share this conference information with prospective Indigenous youth, because we want to increase our attendance for this year's conference!

While we are always thankful for our supportive community's presence at our events, please note that ONLY Native American and Indigenous identified students (7th-12th grade) may attend the conference and MUST be accompanied by an advisor or chaperone. If you are not a student, please utilize this invitation to spread the word to one who may be interested in joining us. We are also accepting volunteers and workshop presenters too!


We will posting conference updates on our Facebook and Instagram (@SDSUNASA ) If you are interested in volunteering, hosting a workshop, or have any questions or concerns, please email us at

Thank you for your time, we hope to see you at our Annual Youth Empowerment Conference.


Kenedi Kraten (Chippewa Cree)
SDSU NASA Conference Coordinator

Student Jade Johnson featured in NewsCenter article on research in public health

Jade Johnson (Diné, Deeshchii'nii Clan), was included in a recent SDSU NewsCenter article,  Applying What You Learn – Student Research Opportunities in Public Health.

The article talks about Jade's research in two campus labs - one in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, and the other in the School of Public Health. Jade is a first-year graduate student in environmental health science, studying the removal of contaminants for wastewater recycling. She began doing research in Hoh’s lab as a chemistry undergrad.

To read the article and learn more about Jade and her journey, visit

The SDSU Women's Studies Department presents...

The Trouble with White Women: Alice Fletcher's Settler Feminism by Dr. Kyla Schuller, Rutgers University

Flyer for The Trouble with White Women: Alice Fletcher's Settler Feminism

Archived News and Events: 2019