May 21-23, 2009 the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota will host the first meeting of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). This is the third of three meetings that culminated in the creation of a new professional organization for scholars who work in American Indian/Native American/First Nations/Aboriginal/Indigenous Studies. The Native American Studies program at the University of Oklahoma, Norman hosted the first meeting in May of 2007, and the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia hosted the second meeting in April of 2008.
The American Indian Studies Department at the U of M is excited to host the third meeting. 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the departmentâ€™s founding â€“ the oldest such program in the country with departmental status. Founded amidst the civil rights struggles of the sixties and early seventies, the department has long been committed to the development of theories and methodologies that reflect American Indian perspectives and it embraces ways of knowing that stand in contrast to the linear analytic Euro-American studies typically found in colleges and universities. The department’s base of formally educated and institutionally trained academicians is being supplemented increasingly by community resource people, including traditional leaders, elders and American Indian artists, writers, film makers, and musicians. Incorporation of such contributors into the teaching program acknowledges unique cultural wisdom and skills that are not typically available in formal, western institutions, but that are nonetheless essential to an understanding of American Indian cultures.
A local host committee of faculty and staff members will arrange accommodations, meeting space, and a set of events that will give conference participants an opportunity to experience the beautiful Twin Cities and U of M campus.
Contact members of the Acting Council if you have questions or concerns.