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News and Events - Archived from 2019

Prep for finals!

NRC & NASA Finals Study Space 2019

SDSU Native Resource Center & NASA Finals Study Space

NASA and the Native Resource Center are collaborating in hosting study spaces for finals week!  Come on by - everyone is welcome! Study sessions are being hosted at the Center for Cultural Relations (CIR), and the Arts and Letters (AL) Building.

Mon., 12/9: 9AM-4PM in AL-318; 10AM-2PM & 5-6PM in CIR

Tues., 12/10: 9AM-4PM in AL-318; 10AM-3PM & 5-6PM in CIR

Wed., 12/11: 9AM-4PM in AL-422; 10AM-3PM & 5-6PM in CIR

Thurs., 12/12: 9AM-4PM in AL-318; 10AM-5PM in CIR

Fri., 12/13: 10AM-5PM in CIR

Free snacks and scantrons, as well as small self-care activities.

More Information: Chris Medellin,

2019 Nike N7 Jersey Auction

Jerseys from the Nike N7 Native American Heritage Night Basketball Game

Available for Auction

Bid now on an authentic game-worn SDSU jersey from the Nike N7 Native Night game played November 25 against Tennessee State! There are 15 jerseys up for auction, with proceeds benefiting Inter Tribal Sports and the SDSU Native American Student Alliance.

To place your bid, visit

Job Opening at the Jamul Indian Village

Jamul Indian Village


The Jamul Indian Village is seeking applicants for the position of Tribal Administrator/Director of Operations.

The Tribal Administrator/Director of Operations is responsible for providing strategic leadership, management, and vision to ensure Jamul has proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and human resources in place to ensure the operating efficiency and financial strength of the government.

Link to full job description

More Information: Chairwoman Erica Pinto,

Native Truth and Healing - California Genocide Conference 2019 at San Diego State University
The Southern California Warrior Spirit Family and San Diego State University present:

NATIVE TRUTH & HEALING - California Genocide Conference 2019

November 22-24, 2019

The Genocide, Oppression, Resilience, and Sovereignty of the First Peoples of California

Four days of presentations, music, documentary films, and political action sessions offer attendees a chance to enhance knowledge of the California genocide and Indigenous peoples’ history. Engage with others who want to learn more about these topics and come away with new understanding. Come together with the community to share ideas for resolutions that will be sent to state officials at the end of the conference.

Free Admission - Open to the Public

Visit the Native Truth & Healing - California Genocide Conference website for more details.

Native American Flute Circle at Mission Trails Park

Native American Women's Flute Concert at Mission Trails Park

Sunday, December 22 (Winter Solstice), 1-3PM, at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Auditorium

The San Diego Flute Circle is hosting their first-ever all-women Native American flute players concert on Sunday, December 22. This free event will include several extremely talented Native American Flute performers, including Joanne Lazzaro, a professional with multiple albums, who has traveled the world playing the flute.

Also if anyone is interested in joining the San Diego Flute Circle, they meet on the second Sunday of each month from 1-3PM at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Auditorium. All are welcome to participate in these fun events, either as players or listeners.

More Information: Benny Mullinax, San Diego Flute Circle,

Native American Student Alliance presents...

NASA Native American Heritage Month Events 2019

Native American Heritage Month

More Information: or @SDSUNASA on Instagram

2019 NASA Native American Heritage Month Flyers

Traditional Kumeyaay Basket Weaving Workshop 2019


Thursday, November 14   |   9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.   |   Scripps Cottage

Please join us for a Kumeyaay basket weaving workshop with several expert Kumeyaay basket weavers from San Jose de la Zorra, Baja CA, who will give a demonstration of this traditional art, and also talk about their methods (with the assistance of a bilingual interpreter). They will discuss the various forms of baskets, the symbols incorporated and their meanings, how they dye the various plants used, where they find them, and the issues that arise today for basketweavers in gathering the necessary plant materials. The event will also feature a presentation by California basket weaver, Willie Pink (Pala).

The workshop will include a hands-on session that will give participants the opportunity to create a small woven pendant. The workshop is free and open to the public, however, space in the hands-on portion of the workshop is limited and pre-registration is required. To pre-register for the hands-on session, email your name and phone number to:

Sponsored by the SDSU American Indian Studies Department, the SDSU Native Resource Center, the SDSU Native American Student Alliance, and the SDSU Instructionally Related Activities Fund.

Flyer for the Traditional Kumeyaay Basket Weaving Workshop

More Information: 619-594-6991 or

Photo by Deborah Small

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening with award-winning hip-hop artist, Native American dancer, & motivational speaker


Monday, November 4, 7:00-9:00 p.m., in the SDSU Student Union Theater
Supaman at SDSU on November 4, 2019

As a member of the “Apsaalooke Nation”, Supaman makes his home on the Crow reservation in Montana. “Supaman” Is Christian Takes Gun Parrish, a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope, pride and resilience through his original art form. He has been the recipient of the 2017 MTV VMA award for “Best Fight Against the System”! He is also a Nammy “Native American Music Award” winner, “North American Indigenous Image Award winner, and 7 “Tunney Award winner. He was awarded The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in Canada for best video and was voted MTV’s new Artist of the Week! His 2018 nominations brought him home awards for Best Hip Hop Album and Best Producer for the Indigenous Music Awards. His latest video’s titled “Prayer Loop Song” and “Why” both have gone viral and have received millions of views on youtube and facebook which has put him in high demand touring extensively throughout the U.S.A and internationally. He has performed for Google at the Google headquarters in San Francisco. He recently was asked to audition for America’s Got Talent and the Broadway play Hamilton. He is currently working with Taboo from the multi grammy award winning group “Black Eyed Peas” looking to complete a project in the coming months.

Supaman’s one of a kind presentation combines Native culture, comedy and urban hip hop culture which dazzles audiences and captivates listeners. For this he has gained the respect of his community and generation. The communicative talent along with the compassion that exudes from his music allows him to connect with people from all walks of life. His uncanny ability to motivate, encourage, and inspire through dance, and hip hop music keeps him at the forefront among his contemporaries which gives him a platform to educate on Indigenous issues.

This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by: SDSU Native Resource Center, SDSU American Indian Studies Department, SDSU Native American Student Alliance, and SDSU Associated Students.

Flyer for 2019 Supaman Event

More Information: 619-594-6991 or

UCSD will also host Supaman at their campus on November 4th (daytime event). Contact the UCSD Intertribal Resource Center for more information about that event:

Native American Student Alliance presents...

2019 Indigenous Peoples Week

Indigenous Peoples Week

More Information: or 619-594-6991 or @SDSUNASA on Instagram

2019 Indigenous Peoples Week Flyer

Linguist Margaret Field brings Kumeyaay oral histories to life in new trilingual book

Linguist Margaret Field brings Kumeyaay oral histories to life in new trilingual book

By Leslie L.J. Reilly

Margaret Field spent the last ten years cultivating Kumeyaay stories. Weekly trips to Ensenada, Mexico gave her the seeds to form the recently published trilingual book she edited with translation assistance from Ana Daniela Leyva and Gerardo Chavez. Her colleagues, linguist Amy Miller and anthropologist Michael Wilken Robertson, also contributed sections of the book called Mii Anmak Nyamak Kweyiwpo: Jwanya Kumiai Kuwak (Huellas del pasado hacia el futuro: Cuentos kumiai de baja california) / Footsteps From the Past into the Future: Kumeyaay Stories of Baja California) — A Trilingual Collection In Kumeyaay, Spanish, & English.

“How do you make tortillas, a pot, or a basket?” These are some of the questions Margaret Field and her colleague Amy Miller might ask during research interviews with Kumeyaay speakers. Field and Miller have been translating Kumeyaay oral stories from people living in Baja California for more than a decade. In the new book, a collection of nine narratives by five storytellers, Kumeyaay history and culture come to life in written form for future generations to read.

Project challenges

Most of the speakers live in very rural and mountainous regions of Mexico. Ninety percent are women. “We have to pay them as an incentive to come to the city to work with us,” Field said. “Most are poor, and spend two to three hours of travel to see us. Adding to the difficulty is when subjects spend 48 hours with us, they also need to plan for childcare or eldercare while they are away from home. Occasionally, I was lucky to have Ana Daniela Leyva drive me out to the rural mountainous regions, which made it easier on the speakers.”

Finding support to pay people for their time was a necessity. Much of the funding came from the original major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Field said, “The first grant allowed us to make all the recordings — hundreds of hours of interviews over a four-year period.” The second grant from the University of London, Endangered Language Document Programme (ELDP) lasted another four years. “Another small grant from SDSU’s Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming program gave us funding to work on the Kumeyaay language between these two grants,” Field said.

“It’s not easy to get people to share. They need to get to know you first,” Field said. “Many times they were not telling ‘stories’ per se, but were offering oral histories or biographies.”

One subject that aided in gathering stories was ethnobotany. “We would go into a garden with these women, and they would tell us all about their plants,” Field said, “I have a long two-hour discussion about women and childbirth and it all begins with a conversation among three sisters talking about plants!” The women who made a recording themselves, with one of the tape recorders given out in the project, recall stories about how plants were used to make childbirth easier.

To transcribe the recorded sessions, Field and Miller play a sentence at a time and then try to say it back to the interviewees. Listening for inflections and differences in Kumeyaay language across communities is challenging. Field said, “For example there are two kinds of ‘t’ sounds. Sometimes “tt” can sound like a ‘ch.’ There are four kinds of “l” and short vowels and long vowels.”

What is unique about this publication is that every single line of copy across the three languages (Kumeyaay/Spanish/English) is synchronized in order to aid Kumeyaay language learners on both sides of the border. It offers an excellent tool for teaching the language.

Importance of telling these stories now

Sadly, the storytellers are aging and passing away before all of their stories can be told. The original plan was to document the language and determine the differences across Baja Kumeyaay communities. Only a handful of speakers remain today and many are too senior to leave their homes. However, there are still some fluent speakers in Mexico who are in their 50s.

Community building and cultural preservation

“What I hope is it will put a spotlight on the extent of the Kumeyaay language and bring the communities on both sides of the border together,” Field said. “We see intercultural exchange between communities, but usually only on special days and during traditional celebrations called ‘gatherings.’”

Field hopes her research and work will lead to more educational exchange. She currently has another ten stories almost completed which may lead to more published books. A collaboration is underway with the Kumeyaay Community College to develop more classes with an emphasis on Kumeyaay language, culture and history that will lead toward a bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies with an emphasis on Kumeyaay Studies at SDSU.

To learn more about this subject matter, please consider attending the Native Truth & Healing: California Genocide Conference, Nov. 21-24 on the campus of SDSU where native authors and speakers will present research and engage in conversations related to the genocide, oppression, resilience, and sovereignty of the first peoples of California. Field will join a panel which focuses on Kumeyaay language.

Visit for a complete program schedule.


Native Truth and Healing - California Genocide Conference 2019 at San Diego State University
The Southern California Warrior Spirit Family and San Diego State University present:

NATIVE TRUTH & HEALING - California Genocide Conference 2019

November 22-24, 2019

Four days of presentations, music, documentary films, and political action sessions offer attendees a chance to enhance knowledge of the California genocide and Indigenous peoples’ history. Engage with others who want to learn more about these topics and come away with new understanding. Come together with the community to share ideas for resolutions that will be sent to state officials at the end of the conference.

Keynote Speaker:

   Anthony R. Pico, Ph.D. ad honorem Viejas Band of Kumeyaay

Honored Speakers to Include:

   Professor Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa, Yurok and Karuk)

   Honorable Chairwoman Erica Pinto (Jamul Indian Village)

   California Critical Mission Studies; Tribal Community Member Panels

Visit the Native Truth & Healing - California Genocide Conference website for more details.

SDSU Senate approves Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement statement

At their September 3rd meeting, the SDSU Senate passed a resolution to establish an official SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement. Two versions--a full version and an abbreviated version--were written by Michael Miskwish (Kumeyaay):

[Full Version]

We stand upon a land that carries the footsteps of millennia of Kumeyaay people. They are a people whose traditional lifeways intertwine with a worldview of earth and sky in a community of living beings. This land is part of a relationship that has nourished, healed, protected and embraced the Kumeyaay people to the present day. It is part of a world view founded in the harmony of the cycles of the sky and balance in the forces of life. For the Kumeyaay, red and black represent the balance of those forces that provide for harmony within our bodies as well as the world around us.

As students, faculty, staff and alumni of San Diego State University we acknowledge this legacy from the Kumeyaay. We promote this balance in life as we pursue our goals of knowledge and understanding. We find inspiration in the Kumeyaay spirit to open our minds and hearts. It is the legacy of the red and black. It is the land of the Kumeyaay.

'eyay e’haan My heart is good.

[Abbreviated Version]

For millennia, the Kumeyaay people have been a part of this land. This land has nourished, healed, protected and embraced them for many generations in a relationship of balance and harmony. As members of the San Diego State community we acknowledge this legacy. We promote this balance and harmony. We find inspiration from this land; the land of the Kumeyaay.


For more information about land acknowledgement, and instructions on how to use a land acknowledgement statement, check out this document prepared by the Division of Diversity and Innovation:
Land Acknowledgement document

Indian Country Today article features SDSU student Lane Yazzie and the Elymash Yuuchaap program

SDSU Student Lane Yazzie

The university experience wasn’t ‘made for Native students like me’

In a recent article, Indian Country Today wrote about the experiences of SDSU student and NASA Chair Lane Yazzie (Diné), detailing their experiences as a Native student in higher education.

The article also features SDSU's Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program.

Read the full article on Indian Country Today

Interested in science? Join SACNAS!

SACNAS group at last meeting

Society for Advancement of Chicanx/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science

The SACNAS at SDSU Chapter is dedicated to fostering the success of students in STEM through workshops, conferences, company visitations, and supporting marginalized communities. This professional society supports underrepresented students in obtaining advanced degrees, research experience, and career opportunities. Our chapter is open to all ethnic groups, genders, and sexualities to ensure a diverse, and inclusive leadership experience. SACNAS extends on the national level of professionals, professors, students, and life long members to support the future faces of STEM.

Check out the SACNAS calendar for information about meetings and events.

More Information:

SACNAS Flyer 2019

Save the date....

2019 AIR Fundraiser and Awards Banquet


Annual Fundraiser & Awards Banquet

Thursday, October 24, 2019  |  5:30 p.m.  |  UCSD Ida & Cecil Green Faculty Club

AIR Programs has proudly served the San Diego County region for over 26 years, through our mentoring and tutorial programs. Our programs provide our Native youth the tools needed to compete and succeed within the academic seing and create opportunities towards higher education. Support our AIR Programs by becoming a sponsor of this years’ 26th Annual Awards and Fundraiser Banquet! The evening’s events will include presentations highlighting this year’s accomplishments and awards for our students, mentors, and community members. If you cannot aend please support our programs through a donation towards our Native youth and academic programs.

Sponsorship form for the 2019 AIR Banquet

For more information about the 2019 AIR Banquet, visit:

Coming soon....

Lying with Badgers - Production of the SDSU Experimental Theatre


By Jason Grasl

Directed by Randy Reinholz

November 1-10 at the SDSU's Experimental Theatre

Set in a magical world, haunted by memories and puppets all clinging to the side of a mountain during a blizzard. The Blackfeet build an economic future while clinging to the past, hoping for economic stability. This comedy utilizes the tensions between family myths, community actions, and the pressures from climate change. Can a prodigal son return home with new knowledge, or will those who have stayed hold the truths?

Special opportunities associated with LYING WITH BADGERS

Thursday, October 31, 7:30:  Preview production with free tickets (up to 150) faculty, staff and students, and First-Generation students or Faculty/staff. Randy Reinholz (Choctaw director) and Jason Grasl (Blackfeet decedent playwright) plan to participate in this process .

Friday, November 1, 7:30 PM:  OPENING NIGHT with cast and crew party at Oggie’s Pizza afterward.

Sunday, November 3, 2:00 PM:  Show Post-show discussion with Randy Reinholz (Choctaw director), Jason Grasl (Blackfeet descendant playwright), and Courtney Elkin Mohler (Chumash, dramaturge) to participate in the talk with the cast and crew. The Los Angeles production team will also be present in preparation for the Los Angeles production next February.

Friday, November 22 – Sunday, November 24:  Plans are being made to participate in the upcoming conference at SDSU, Native Truth & Healing - California Genocide Conference. Check back for more details.

November 1 – 10:  Performances at Don Powell Theatre.  Tickets are available at

33rd Annual California Indian Conference at Sonoma State University

33rd Annual


November 14-16 at Sonoma State University

Call for Individual Papers, Organized Panels, and Forum Discussion Deadline:

              October 1, 2019

Submit proposals to:

Vendor and Information Booths --first come, first served--

Vendors apply at:

Information booths apply at: 

For more information, visit the 2019 CIC website:

Flyer for 2019 California Indian Conference

Congratulations to American Indian Studies Adjunct Professor Randy Reinholz

Randy Reinholz receives Ellen Stewart Career Achievement Award

Randy Reinholz

Native Voices' Randy Reinholz Becomes First Native American to Receive the Ellen Stewart Career Achievement in Professional Theater Award

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education named Randy Reinholz (Choctaw), the recipient of their most prestigious honor, named for Ellen Stewart, well-known Artistic Director of the acclaimed La MaMa Theater in New York. Reinholz, a celebrated leader in the field of theater and higher education, has been at the forefront of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice for 25 years as the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry. Congratulations on this achievement!

Indian Country Article about the award

Join us....

Support the new Land Acknowledgement & LGBTQIA+ Resolution

Support the new Land Acknowledgement & LGBTQIA+ Resolution at the University Senate

Please join us at the University Senate on Tuesday, September 3rd at 1:45pm in solidarity and support of two new resolutions. The Senate will discuss and vote on a resolution to establish an official SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement as well as a proposal to increase support for LGBTQIA+ students.

Meet at the CIR (Student Union 2nd Floor) at 1:45 p.m. to walk to the Senate as a united group. Please show up and show out! Your attendance is crucial to demonstrate unified community support behind these initiatives.

More Information:  Contact Anne Guanciale at

Spotlight on Community Service - Miracle Smart

American Indian Studies major Miracle Mercedes Marie Smart recently completed an internship with Dr. James David Adams, Chumash tribe medicine healer, and we asked her to share a bit about her experience.

  Tell us a bit about yourself:

Miracle at the Eaton Falls Hiking Trail in Pasadena, CA

My name is Miracle Mercedes Marie Smart, and my mother is Seminole-Creek and my father is African American. I am a junior majoring in American Indian Studies and double minoring in Chemistry and Biology. I grew up interested in American Indian studies because of my deceased, Seminole-Creek grandmother on my mother’s side. In May of 2018, after creating a 13-page research paper on American Indian Identity, my grandmother came to me in a dream and basically told me to be proud of our culture for her since she was harassed and bullied for being “Red” throughout her lifetime. From that moment on, I knew I had to involve Native American culture into my path of career.

  Explain your Community Service project:

From left to right Mr. Villasenor, Ms. Wong, Miracle(myself) and Dr. Adams at the King Gillette Ranch in Pasadena, CA

My mentor, Dr. James David Adams, Jr., a professor at the USC School of Pharmacy, spent 14 years working with one of the last Chumash healers, named Ms. Cecilia Garcia (now passed in 2012). They published a book together called Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West (see link) of which my mother and I were each given a hard copy signed by Dr. Adams himself, on the first day of my internship. During my internship I was able to learn the different uses for California native medicinal plants and explore different native plant gardens in the L.A. area, especially some of the uses of Chumash tribal medicine. Each day we said a prayer, sung such beautiful and meaningful songs, and hiked up miles on trails to discuss the importance of native medicinal plants and the history of California Indians. I was also accompanied by two other prodigies of Dr. Adams. One of them was a Chinese herbalist, Michelle Wong, and another was Mr. Enrique Villasenor.

  What was your most memorable moment from this experience?

Mr. Villasenor seen in the picture, cutting the cactus pad for us to eat at Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena, CA

The most memorable part of my experience was when we stood underneath a beautiful, giant cacti during a hike, and that day my mother and I both learned that cacti was used for food and medicinal purposes through my tribe, Seminole-Creek (Mvskogee) in which neither one of us had known about that fact until that moment. Dr. Adams, and Mr. Villasenor brought up an interesting point by explaining that the possible reason as to why a lot of my family members have certain health issues could be based on the fact that we lack our natural, native nutrient for our bodies.

  Did this experience help clarify your future career goals? Why or why not? 

My mother and I seen at the Visitors Center at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Pasadena, CA

Yes, this experience did clarify my future career goals because I always wanted to have a career in the field of medicine, but at the same time, I loved learning and studying more about my culture and other aboriginal cultures since I grew ignorant of it from post-transgenerational trauma concerning my family and myself from being bullied for our appearance because we looked different---because we were Natives and/or mixed Natives. Therefore, I decided to take the initiative to include “the best of both worlds” into my education and study pre-pharmacology. My ideal focus would be pharmacology and toxicology along with drawing influences from Indigenous ways of medicine and Western/modern ways of medicine to create less side effects in drugs. Basically, I’m hoping to earn the title of a biomedical scientist/PharmD in modern terms or as my grandmother would call it, “a medicine woman”.

Dr. Adams under a waterfall at Eaton Falls Hiking Trail in Pasadena, CA

This experience also opened my eyes to the importance of tribal medicine that is needed in the pharmaceutical industry since there’s so many mistakes in modern medicine. As my mentor, Dr. James David Adams, said, “The FDA is a racist organization that took American Indian medicine off the market when I was a boy," and since then he has been fighting against the FDA with multiple attempts to get American Indian medicine back into the pharmaceutical market, which has been an ongoing and extremely difficult process. The other problem is that people are not aware of the true knowledge of tribal medicinal plants. Meaning, not only is the knowledge of the uses of native medicinal plants going extinct in some indigenous cultures, but also the uses of native medicinal plants are being abused by ignorance of many to this day, especially medicines that are very sacred. An example of this occurrence is when people use ridiculous amounts of Sage and essential oils, which can become dangerous for the environment and the individual. For these reasons mentioned above, I plan to continue studying the uses of tribal medicinal plants, and after I graduate from SDSU, I hope to become a prodigy under Dr. Adams, while studying and researching pharmacology and toxicology at the USC School of Pharmacy.

To learn more about majoring or minoring in American Indian Studies at SDSU, visit our website.

SDSU Lecturer Richard Carrico

Lecturer Richard Carrico to give presentation to the Presidio Heritage Trust on June 26

The Presidio de San Diego: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay or Citadel of Civilization?

This event will be at the Hacienda Hotel in Old Town with a dinner-lecture on the early evening of Wednesday, June 26th

Richard L. Carrico, writer, educator, and wine maker, is a lecturer in the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. He is a well-respected scholar, public speaker, and researcher who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the local Native American culture.

He has an M.A. from the University of San Diego in History and B. A. degrees from San Diego State University in both History and Anthropology.

His primary area of research is the Indians of California and northern Mexico. In addition to more than 30 publications in professional journals, Richard is the author of Images of America Series: Ramona and other books including the recently released and revised Strangers in a Stolen Land: The Indians of San Diego County from Prehistory to the New Deal; San Diego's Ghosts and Hauntings; and History of the Wineries of San Diego County. He also has authored stand-alone chapters in five academic books. He is pleased and greatly complemented to make this presentation.

As San Diego commemorates 250 years since the founding of the San Diego Presidio and the first mission in Alta California, we have an unique opportunity to take a good, hard look at the role of the Presidio in our early history. The image that first settlement appears from the mists of time and the dust of archaeological excavation is a complex one as it relates to treatment of indigenous people.

This presentation focuses specifically on the Spanish colonial system as implemented at the Presidio de San Diego from 1770 to 1820. Emphasis will be placed on how indigenous men and women ended up in the presidio prison, laws and regulations that were applied to prisoners, the methods used to extract testimony, and instances of moral valor and of moral turpitude, Richard will strongly suggest that the legal and moral system practiced at the presidio included torture, leniency, close adherence to the law, and wild variations in the application of Spanish laws—in other words an out of balance, often incoherent system of law and justice.

Coming soon....

New lab space for American Indian Studies

Indigenous Archaeologies and Tribal Research Laboratory

New lab space in Hardy Tower being built for Assistant Professor Peter Nelson

We are excited to announce that a new lab is being constructed for the Indigenous archaeological and tribal research being conducted by Dr. Peter Nelson (and his students), and to support courses being taught by our department. The lab is nearing completion, and we will post photos soon!

In Fall, we hope to hold an Open House - so plan to check it out and help us celebrate this wonderful new space! 

Congratulations to new American Indian Studies alum

2019 Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award winner Shurene Larae Premo

Shurene Premo

Winner of the Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award for the SDSU Class of 2019

Shurene was named the winner of SDSU’s 2019 Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who has shown exceptional entrepreneurial achievement as an undergraduate. The award, presented to her at the SDSU Arts and Letters commencement ceremony by Mr. Peter Zahn, includes a $25,000 scholarship. Shurene graduated with honors and a double major in American Indian Studies, from the College of Arts and Letters, and Social Work, from the College of Health and Human Services. She is a recognized member of the Shoshone-Paiute tribe who reside on the Duck Valley reservation in Owyhee, Nevada. Following graduation, Shurene will enter the advanced-standing Graduate Program in Social Work. The program will focus on one of Premo’s personal passions, child welfare, and will include an internship with the County of San Diego, possibly within its Indian Specialty Unit.

Link to SDSU Newscenter Article

Link to video from Commencement (skip to 1:17:45 to see Shurene receive her award)

Native American and Indigenous Faculty and Staff Association Mixer

Please join us for the inaugural

Native American and Indigenous Faculty and Staff Association Mixer

MAY 23, 2019

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Conference Room 1 on 4th Floor, Calpulli Center

A social event for Native/Indigenous faculty, staff, and allies to celebrate the creation of Native American and Indigenous Faculty and Staff Association at SDSU. Sponsored by the Office of Faculty Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Flyer for NAIFSA 2019 Mixer



      Jen Rickard, Ph.D., Chair

      Olivia Chilcote, Ph.D., Vice Chair

      Chris Medellin, Secretary


More Information:

2019 American Indian Graduation and Honoring Ceremony

Congratulations to all of our recent grads! The 2019 American Indian Graduation and Honoring Ceremony was held on May 10th at the Mission Trails Visitor Center.

2019 American Indian Graduation Ceremony

We celebrated the achievements of the following graduates:

  Susana Caracoza - B.A. in Anthropology & B.A. in American Indian Studies

  Rachel M. Geisler (San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians) - B.A. in Journalism, Minor in American Indian Studies

  Jade Lauren Johnson (Diné Deesgcguu;buu Clan) - B.S. in Chemistry, Double Minor in Sustainability & Mathematics

  Lauren J. Mapp (Kanien'kehá ka, Turtle Clan) - B.A. in Journalism, Minor in American Indian Studies

  Daniel Jason Peralta (Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians) - B.A. in American Indian Studies, Minor in Anthropology

  Shurene Larae Premo (Newe-Numa Nation/Tosa Wihi [White Knife] Band of Western Shoshone) - B.A. in Social Work, B.A. in American Indian Studies, Outstanding Graduating Senior in American Indian Studies

  Reyna Reynosa (Navajo, Apache, Mexican) - B.A. in American Indian Studies

  Alexandra Toure (Aniyunwiya [Tsalagi], Choctaw, Muskogee Creek) - B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Focus in Educational Leadership, Minor in Cultural Proficiency

  Eric Cruz - M.S. in School Counseling

  Ann Huynh - M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in School Psychology

  Marisa Leone - M.S. in School Counseling

  Shafiq Sami Nashashibi - M.S. Counseling with an emphasis in School Psychology

  Lora Sherice Paz (Ysleta del sur Pueblo) - M.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences

  Kyle Mason Vance (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) - M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in School Psychology

  Jennifer Kim Vo - M.S. in School Counseling

  Marcus Yazzie (Diné) - M.S. in Accounting

  Tiffany Haswood (Diné) - Ed.S. in School Psychology

  Paul Pham - Ed.S. in School Psychology

Congratulations to all the graduates! Also, congratulations to Dr. David Kamper, who was selected as the "Most Influential Faculty Member" by our Outstanding Graduating Senior, Shurene Premo.

Photo Album - 2019 American Indian Studies Graduation & Honoring Ceremony

Poetry and Convo with Queer Indigenous Poet Tommy Pico

Poetry & Convo with Queer Indigenous Poet


Two opportunities to attend:

- Tuesday, April 30, 7PM at The Loft @ UCSD (door at 6:30)

- Wednesday, May 1, 4PM at SHW-011 @ SDSU (reception to follow)

Tommy "Teebs" Pico is author of the books IRL, Nature Poem, and Junk. He also co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA), co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay Nation, he now splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.


UCSD: The Loft, Inter-Tribal Resource Center, Institute for Arts & Humanities, Critical Mission Studies, Department of Theater and Dance, Literature Department New Writing Series, LGBTQIA+ Living and Learning Community, Department of Ethnic Studies. SDSU: Associated Students, Native American Student Alliance, Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars & Leaders Program, Educational Opportunities Programs and Ethnic Affairs, Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. COMMUNITY: The Viejas Tribal Education Center

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Students in the M.A. Postsecondary Educational Leadership / Student Affairs Program invites you to join them for a guest lecture with:

Lecture by Amanda R. Tachine

Amanda R. Tachine (Diné), Ph.D.

Research & Evaluation Associate, American Indian College Fund


Thursday, May 2nd

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Adams Humanities 3177

San Diego State University

Funded by Student Success Fee, Academic Related Programs

More Information:

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Please join us for the 46th Annual SDSU Powwow

2018 SDSU Pow Wow

Saturday, April 13, 2019 - Location: ENS Field adjacent to Music Building

  Bird Singing - 10AM

  Gourd Dancing - 11AM

  Grand Entry - noon

Admission is to free and open to all.

Vendor Information: Chris Medellin at

General Information: 619-594-8363 or

2019 Powwow Flyer - PDF Version

2019 Powwow Flyer - JPG Version

Sponsored by the Native American Student Alliance, the SDSU Educational Opportunities Programs and Ethnic Affairs, the SDSU Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program, the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, and the SDSU Department of American Studies.

Sign up for the new NASA Newsletter

NASA Newsletter Sign Up

The SDSU Native American Student Alliance has begun sending a bi-weekly email newsletter.

To sign up, go to this link.

For more information, visit NASA's Facebook page.

Graduates at the 2018 American Indian Graduation Ceremony

American Indian Graduation Ceremony - May 10


Are you a Native American student who will be graduating from SDSU this May or August (or recently graduated in December)? If so, we would like to invite you (and your family and friends) to attend our upcoming American Indian Graduation Ceremony.

The Department of American Indian Studies, the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, the Native American Scholars and Collaborators program, the Native American Student Alliance, the Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program, and the Tribal Gaming Student Association are planning a special graduation ceremony for our majors, minors and Native American students on the evening of Friday, May 10, 2019. The ceremony will be held at Mission Trails Park Visitor Center Amphitheater (1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego), from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

At the ceremony, each graduate will receive individual recognition, and will be given the opportunity to express appreciation to family, friends and others. Thus, the ceremony presents an occasion for you to acknowledge those special people in your life who have helped you attain your goals. A short reception will precede the ceremony.

If you are graduating and would like to be included (or would like to attend as a guest), please email Kate Regan at, or call 619-594-6991.

2019 Graduation Ceremony Event Flyer

SDSU's English Graduate Student Organization invites proposals from graduate and undergraduate students, for the...

Spring 2019 Symposium:  PRESENT PARADOX

APRIL 26, 2019, 9AM - 4PM, Digital Humanities Center

Dr. Cutcha Risling BaldyThis year’s theme, “Present Paradox,” seeks to draw attention to the persistence of the past in our current forms of critique but also to the potential for new forms of engagement that the present offers. As such, we encourage submissions that engage in discussions of the status quo, political climate, or points of contention in scholarship and criticism, but with an emphasis on the future as much as the past. In do so, we hope that this year’s theme allows us to address issues and concerns in our disciplines and in the world at large but that also identifies possible solutions and new directions. It also allows for a consideration of the stakes and implications of raising issues within our work.

Some suggested themes or topics include: Bodies/Body Politics, Temporality, Cultural Studies, LGBTQ+ Representations, Gender and Sexuality, Translation/Communications, Indigenous Studies, Post-Colonial, Critical Race Studies, Media/Culture/Popular Culture, Subversion/Counter-Culture, Mirrors, Trauma/Hurt/Recovery, and Youth Studies.

Email submissions to - deadline is March 29, 2019.

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NASA Meetings Spring 2019



Meeting Times: Tuesdays, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Location: Room 361 in the Arts & Letters Bldg.

Est. 1971, the Native American Student Alliance at San State University continues to promote a Native American presence on campus. We are a culturally, socially, and politically active organization. We host an array of events to help promote the recruitment and retention of Native American and Alaskan Native students.

NASA's Events include the annual SDSU Pow Wow, Youth Empowerment Conference, Native American Heritage Month, and Indigenous Peoples' Day.


Facebook: @SDSUNASA on Facebook

Instagram: @SDSUNASA on Instagram

For those of you who may have missed the great talk by Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy at the 4th Annual Linda Parker Memorial Lecture on February 20, we hope you'll take time to view the video.

The title of her lecture was: "Thanks for Coming, Now Give the Land Back: Decolonial Musings, Radical Imagination, and Yes, Your Mascot Is Racist."

If you are interested in Dr. Risling Baldy's book, We Are Dancing for You: Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women's Coming-of-Age Ceremonies, check

And we encourage you to support the We Are Dancing for You Book Project, that donates and distributes the book to American Indian youth centers, Native rehabilitation programs, Youth and Adult correctional facilities, and Tribal libraries across the state of California. The book project allows anyone to puchase a copy of We Are Dancing for You to be sent to one of these many facilities in California.

The We Are Dancing For You book project is sponsored by the Native Women's Collective.

For more information, download the poscard, or visit

Congratulations to SDSU American Indian Studies Lecturer Richard Carrico, for being awarded the Norman Neuerburg Award by the California Missions Foundation at their 2019 conference

Prof. Richard Carrico receives the Norm Neuerburg award

The award recognizes Outstanding Contributions Towards the Study and Preservation of California's Missions, Presidios, and Ranchos.

Professor Carrico explained more about the award:

"At the conference, and as part of my efforts to decolonize San Diego's early history by acknowledging the indigenous people and telling at least part of their story, I presented a paper on the "Women of Presidio San Diego 1770-1835" and focused on the ethnic and cultural diversity of the women as early San Diego pioneers. I closed my presentation with the story of Sinusin, a Tipai woman from a South Bay village who married a Spanish soldier from Sinaloa Mexico in 1775 and the story of her granddaughters who lived in Old Town San Diego in the 1830-1850 period. My approach to California Mission Studies is to deromanticize the period and to flesh out the indigenous men and women who, while maintaining agency, were affected by the mission system and are a major part of any telling of the Spanish colonial story."

The folks in the photo are left to right: David Bolton, Executive Director of the CMF; Richard Carrico, Department of American Indian Studies; Dr. Iris Engstrand, Professor Emerita USD; and Michael Imwalle, Chairman of CMF.

We commend Prof. Carrico for this achievement!

The SDSU Department of American Indian Studies presents:


Cutcha Risling Baldy, Ph.D.


Wed., February 20, at 7:00 p.m., in Room 101 in the Arts & Letters Building

Dr. Cutcha Risling BaldyDr. Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. Her research is focused on Indigenous feminisms, California Indians and decolonization. She is the author of a popular blog ( that explores issues of social justice, history and California Indian politics and culture. Dr. Risling Baldy's first book We Are Dancing For You: Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women's Coming-of-Age Ceremonies considers how revitalization of coming-of-age ceremonies challenges anthropological theories about menstruation, gender, and coming-of-age, and addresses gender inequality and gender violence within Native communities. The book is available with the University of Washington Press and major book sellers and retailers. Dr. Risling Baldy is Hupa, Yurok and Karuk and an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California. In 2007, Dr. Risling Baldy cofounded the Native Women's Collective, a nonprofit organization that supports the continued revitalization of Native American arts and culture where she serves as the Executive Director. She lives in Humboldt County with her family and their puppy, Buffy.

This event is free and open to the public.

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More Information: 619-594-6991 or

Native Voices at the Autry, America's Leading Native American Theatre Company Invites You to the World Premiere of

Native Voices at the Autry presents PURE NATIVE

Pure Native

A New Play by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora)

Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

-   March 8-24, 2019

-   Wells Fargo Theater at the Autry Museum, Los Angeles, CA

-   Student Matinees Friday, March 15 and March 22, 11:00 a.m. ($2 per person)

When “prodigal son” Brewster White returns to the reservation after an unexplained self-exile, he has a plan to add something new to the community; something he thinks can help them and its flailing economy. Can he convince the tribal council and clan mothers to lease "Rez" water rights to a large food conglomerate that wants to sell Pure Native bottled water? He's offering his newfound expertise in the bottled water industry and his mother's riverfront property for a water refinery and bottling plant. The only problem–his close friends and family aren't on board, and his old love Connie is fiercely opposed. Will the community vote to change their recipe for traditional life with a proposal to bring hundreds of jobs to the Rez if it risks dramatically changing their daily lives? Or will they hang on to tradition?

Performances run 90 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

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More Information about The Autry

American Indian Identity Course Spring 2019

American Indian Identity course to be taught online in Spring 2019

AMIND/ANTH 451 (Instructor: Dr. Olivia Chilcote) 

Ever thought about:

¬who is a "real Indian"?

¬who gets to decide?

¬how do you know? DNA tests? Family stories? Tribal enrollment? Federal government?

In AMIND/ANTH 451 you will study these questions and more as you learn about the complex, controversial, and ever-changing meaning of American Indian identity in the U.S.

This class will be taught entirely online. The course has no prerequisites and satisfies the Explorations-Social and Behavioral Sciences (IV.B) graduation requirement. Non-matriculated students may enroll through Open University.

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NASA's Annual Youth Empowerment Conference

Save the date....

The SDSU Native American Student Alliance presents:

"The Future is Indigenous: We Exist, We Resist, We Rise" Annual Youth Empowerment Conference 

Saturday, February 9, 2019
SDSU Student Union

NASA will host a one-day conference for local Native students on Saturday, February 9, 2019. More information will be available soon, but in the meantime, please hold the date and plan to attend.

If you know of any middle-school or high-school students who may want to attend, please contact NASA at

Proudly hosted on Kumeyaay land.

Save the Date Flyer - 2019 Youth Empowerment Conference

Archived News and Events: 2018