AIS Newsletter/Fall Update




•American Indian Studies is now an Academic Department within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  As of 2015, American Indian Studies (AIS) is now offering a Bachelor’s degree in addition to its long-standing interdisciplinary graduate (Master’s and Ph.D.) degrees.  Check out our progress and updates on the AIS web page at


Keith James, Ph.D. (Psychology and Organizational Behavior), Onondaga, has become the AIS Department Head after stints at Portland State University, the National Science Foundation, Colorado State University, the University of Alaska (Fairbanks & System), Colombia University and visiting appointments with six universities in Europe, two in Australia, and two in Canada.


Mark Blair, Ph.D., Anishinaabe, has been appointed by Keith James to serve as the AIS Director of Graduate Studies and as the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) coordinator for AIS, and officially approved for that position by the Graduate College.  Congratulations, Mark!

Nancy Parezo, Ph.D., has been appointed by Keith James to serve as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for AIS.  Nancy has agreed to take on the position and work toward building the AIS undergraduate degree program and undergraduate concentration areas.  Congratulations, Nancy.

•Aresta Tsosie-LaRusso, Ph.D., Navajo, will be joining AIS to teach an undergraduate course during the Spring 2016 semester and help lead development of AIS (and UA) collaboration with Diné College.  Aresta, a graduate of AIS, has been teaching Navajo Language for the UA Linguistics Department, and Linguistics will be collaborating with AIS on developing a new undergraduate concentration, as well as on the developing partnership with Diné College.

Adam T. Murry, Ph.D., Apache, and Keith James’ former doctoral advisee at Portland State University, is currently a Post-Doc in AIS.  Adam will be teaching a graduate Research Methodology course in the Spring 2016 semester.  Adam may also teach an Indian/Indigenous Program Evaluation (one of his areas of methodological expertise) short course during the Winter 2015 intersession.


Dean Jarrett, ABD from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) arrived on campus on October 26th to spend the remainder of the 2015-2016 academic year with AIS on a fellowship he received from the Fulbright Foundation of Australia.  Dean presented about revitalizing Indigenous (“Aboriginal”) communities in Australia on November 9th as part of the AIS speaker series.

•A Native American & Indigenous Entrepreneurship Bachelors (&, eventually, graduate) concentration is starting up. Entrepreneurship and Economic Development were listed as the #1 priority in a survey of Arizona’s tribes this past summer.   The McGuire Entrepreneurship Center (#3 Ranked in North America) at the Eller College of Management will collaborate with AIS on that concentration.

•A joint hire of a Native Entrepreneurship faculty member between AIS and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Center at the Eller College has been approved.  Robert Hershey-Lear will be chairing the search committee and the position announcement is available on the AIS website and at

•On October 13, Michael Hawes, the Executive Director from the Canadian Fulbright Foundation, and JP Jones, Dean of SBS, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to have a Canadian Indigenous Entrepreneurship (faculty) Fellow come to AIS each of the next five years. Michael also spoke the evening of October 13, as the first presenter in the AIS Speaker series.  He spoke on Indian education in Canada.

Ofelia Zepeda, Ph.D. and Regents’ Professor, Tohono O’odham, and Keith James met with the leadership group of the Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC); they will ally with UA-AIS and UA-Health Sciences to support a Tribal Health program.  That program will span an Associate’s Degree at TOCC and the Bachelor’s in AIS. Teshia Solomon, Ph.D., Choctaw, Director, Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC) and Keith James will submit grant proposals seeking funding to support the Tribal Health program.


Keith James, Karen Francis Begay, Navajo, (UA Associate Vice President for Tribal Relations), Adam Murry and Joe Dupris from Linguistics, visited Diné College and met with their Academic Vice President and several faculty members about various potential collaborations with AIS, including those in Tribal Health and Native Entrepreneurship.


Nancy Parezo is working on a double-major between AIS and Anthropology; Ron Trosper, Ph.D., Salish and Kootenai, is working on creating an undergraduate, natural resource-related concentration.  Mark Blair has developed both an AIS undergraduate tribal-law track, and a double major with the Law School.  In addition to leading the development of the Entrepreneurship and Health concentrations, Keith James is also working toward creating an undergraduate and a graduate AIS Traditional Knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) concentration and double major.  Both of the latter would be in collaboration with the Sloan-Foundation Funded American Indians into STEM programs at the UA.

•AIS has seed funding for two new initiatives: one for a building fund to remake the dysfunctional Harvill Building, as well as create a visible, outdoor presence for American Indian Studies.  The UA School of Architecture has agreed to provide design support for that project.  The second set of seed funding is for an Endowed Chair for a faculty member in American Indian Studies.

As the preceding list shows, the UA-American Indian Studies Department in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is developing new capacity aimed at aiding the educational and career success of students, as well as at aiding the achievement of the goals and priorities of Indian and Indigenous (global) communities.   We are moving ahead and invite all to join us.


Speakers from Indian and Indigenous Country

Upcoming lectures:

11-23-2015 –Ronald L Trosper –How the Salish and Kootenai Tribes Resisted Settler Colonialism to Acquire and Name Selis, Ksanka and Qlispe Dam

12-7-2015 –Teshia Solomon –Native American/Indigenous Health


Lectures are scheduled at 5:30pm in Harvill 332A –all are free and open to the public

Speaker series, open to all; also a New Course in AIS! Fall 2015

AIS 495A/595A Speakers from Indian and Indigenous Country

Speakers from Indian and Indigenous Country is a sequence of speakers from around North America and the world examine a range of critical, current issues facing indigenous communities.  Each talk is open to all members of the UA community and to the public.  Students may also register for the entire series of talks for credit.   Though diverse in nationality and profession, all of the speakers are deeply knowledgeable about important aspects of indigenous life, and deeply passionate in their efforts to advance indigenous wellbeing. They will share their disciplinary and cultural knowledge and expertise via orations followed by question and answer sessions.  A background reading nominated by the speaker for a particular session will be available in advance of each talk.












American Indian Studies

University of Arizona/SBS

1103 E. Second Street
PO Box 210076 – Room 218
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0076


November 2015


Published Date: 

11/17/2015 - 3:43pm

Related Topic(s): 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences