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Welcome to the Indigenous Nations Studies (INST) website!

A message from our Interim Director:

With autumn comes the start of another academic year, and a season of transition for Indigenous Nations Studies.  Longtime INST Director Dr. Cornel Pewewardy stepped aside last year, and many of us are still in disbelief.  He is an iconic figure in Indigenous and Native American Studies nationally.  We all would be better served if we revisited some of his welcoming words last term.   

I would like to acknowledge the people whose land we are standing on today, the Multnomah and Clackamas Peoples. It is important to acknowledge the ancestors of this place and to recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices they were forced to make. In remembering the Multnomah and Clackamas communities we honor their memory, their lives, and their descendants. We also remember that we are guests of this land and must do our best to never forget its original inhabitants.

Given the historical realities and the ongoing social, economic, and political consequences of a colonial legacy, our culturally responsive program in Indigenous Nations Studies is dedicated to the protection and strengthening of Native/Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and unalienable human rights. Our faculty is dedicated to the educational, cultural and sovereign advancement of the communities we serve and represent. I am proud to be among a group of faculty that sees teaching, research, and service as a "sacred" responsibility to all students, and particularly to the tribal nations in the state of Oregon.

One of the most important things that should happen this term is for members of the INST community—students, faculty, staff, and allies—to continue to move forward in the spirit of self-determination that Dr. Pewewardy has always championed.  To do anything less would not only tarnish Dr. Pewewardy’s legacy and ongoing work, but also, would undermine our collective efforts to affirm Indigeneity and decolonized pedagogy and scholarship.

There are several dedicated and selfless individuals who are engaging in this amazing work.  Dr. Grace Dillon and Prof. Judy BlueHorse Skelton continue to dazzle and help transform lives through their work both inside the classroom and out in the larger community.  Ho’esta Mo’e’hahne, the first INST Scholar in Residence, is already making an impact in INST and in School of Gender, Race and Nations.  Dr. Cynthia Coleman from the Department of Communication has agreed to chair the search for the next INST Director.  Several of us have been working on the proposal for a major in Indigenous and Native American Studies (INNAS).  As part of that process, supporters beyond PSU’s borders have committed to writing letters, including PSU alum, State Rep. Tawna Sanchez.

To them, and to you, go many thanks, and best wishes for this fall!

Winston Grady-Willis