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Director's Welcome

Boozhoo, Posoh, Ahau, Sekoli (Hello),

Welcome back!  We hope the summer has been happy, relaxing, and safe for you and everyone you love. What an unsettling time it is in our history.  Whether you are on campus or joining us virtually, know that you are a beloved member of our circle of scholars.

We’ve now made three trips around the sun together, and our CNAIR community continues to grow. We’re very excited about the new Native American and Indigenous Studies minor.  The six-course minor takes an interdisciplinary approach with options to explore Native and Indigenous topics through Creative Expression, the Social World, the Natural World, and Global Indigeneities. Students can choose from 15 courses across 8 departments. Please visit our website: or talk to Prof. Kelly Wisecup,  NAIS Minor Coordinator,, to learn more.

We have a new Native House, located at 515 Clark Street. Our new home has office space for staff, a meeting area that can accommodate 10-12 conferees, another room in which our fellows can work, a library, small kitchen and two bathrooms.  Before you visit the new space, though, please check the campus advisories for visiting NU buildings. We want to keep everyone safe.

We extend a hearty welcome to our newest CNAIR affiliate Josiah Hester, a Native Hawaiian and computer scientist, who has already partnered with CNAIR on several NSF grant proposals.  We also say hello to two new faculty who specialize in Indigenous scholarship: Michaela Kleber, hired in History, works on Indigenous gender and sexuality in Illinois Country; Caroline Egan, hired in Spanish and Portuguese, works on early Indigenous literatures, including literatures in Nahautl, within the Spanish empire. The Kaplan Institute for the Humanities hired Joe Whitson, a digital humanities postdoctoral fellow, who studies the ways digital tools can revise narratives of Indigenous absence on public lands. 

We also are excited to support our 2020 faculty fellow, Doug Kiel (History), as he puts the finishing touches on his book, Unsettling Territory: Oneida Indian Resurgence and Anti-Sovereignty Backlash, which highlights how enacting decolonial ambitions transforms relationships between Indigenous nations and the United States on local and national scales. We’re excited to announce our 2020-2021 graduate fellows, who will join CNAIR’s community by attending talks, sharing their work, and presenting at our annual research symposium:

Like all of our colleagues at Northwestern, we’ve had to adjust to teaching and learning in a pandemic.  Some of what we planned for fall— a teaching lodge outside our Indian House and a master canoe builder as our artist-in-residence—has had to be postponed. Other activities, like our welcome reception, brown bags, and book talks, will move online.  Please visit: to keep up to date on what is happening.

We look forward to seeing you virtually or at a safe distance and believe that together we can meet the unusual challenges Covid-19 has brought and continue to promote reciprocal and sovereignty affirming research.

Patty Loew, CNAIR Director

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