Home / Greetings from the Director

Greetings from the Director


Dear Friends,

I am happy to serve as the acting director for American Indian Studies (AIS) for the 2018/2019 academic year. 

We are pleased to announce that a new director has been hired for the AIS program.  Professor Stephanie Fitzgerald ([Cree] Nehiyaw/Ininiw) from the University of Kansas will be the new AIS director and will begin her directorship in the summer of 2019.   She will be on research assignment for the academic year of 2018/2019.  Her research traces the relationships between Native oral tradition, textual and material cultures, language, and Federal Indian Law and policy and Native customary law. She is the author of Native Women and Land: Narratives of Dispossession and Resurgence ​(University of New Mexico Press, 2015), and co-editor of Keepers of the Morning Star: An Anthology of Native Women's Theater ​(UCLA American Indian Studies Center, 2003). She is currently completing a book that examines the impact of technology and the emergence of a contemporary Native print culture during the era of the American Indian Movement from 1968 to 1984. Her newest project focuses on the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma and its implications for the cultural, linguistic, and political survival  of the downstream Indian nations. Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others. Professor Fitzgerald earned her MA in American Indian Studies from UCLA and her PhD in English from the Claremont Graduate University.  We are delighted to have her in AIS.  

 I want to thank Professor James Riding In for serving two full years as interim director. His dedicated service, working closely with Dean Wentz, is very much appreciated. I have always believed one of the most challenging positions on campus is “interim director.” Professor Riding In performed flawlessly in the positon. Thank you greatly.    

Lastly, it is important for visitors to spend time on the AIS website.    

On this site you will discover exciting information about our faculty, graduate and undergraduate programs, course offerings, and staff. It also provides information about the conference we host annually in conjunction with Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico, the academic journal housed in AIS, and our students.

At ASU, we are striving to make AIS not only important and relevant to Native nations, organizations, and peoples but also to society as a whole. We have offered baccalaureate degrees since 2001 and master’s degrees since 2012. As our AIS Paradigm states, AIS is rooted “in the concepts of sovereignty and indigenousness.” Our faculty imparts knowledge about American Indian experiences in historical and contemporary settings from American Indian perspectives. We provide “a curriculum for the intellectual, ethical, and social development of students so they will acquire a comprehensive and practical understanding of U.S. Indian law and policy, colonization/decolonization, and nation building.”

We have truly created an “Indian-friendly” program within the broader ASU community. In a 2015 statement, President Michael Crow states that AIS is one of several “world-class” Indian programs at ASU. President Crow went on to say, “We are committed to providing access, retaining and graduating American Indian students in a climate that is welcoming and respectful of their languages and cultures. Foundational to these goals, we commit to creating an environment of success and possibility for American Indian students at ASU.”

A question we hear is what can you do with an AIS degree. The truth is that our former students have established meaningful careers in the public and private sectors while others have pursued law and graduate degrees. Under the “Why Study Here” link, you will see what several of our Alumni have to say about this matter. One of our graduates, Stephen Roe Lewis, is now completing his second term as the governor of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. In a 2016 presentation at ASU, Governor Lewis acknowledged that AIS empowered him with knowledge about an array of Indian issues vital to his position as the leader of an Indian nation.

In closing, thank you for your interest in AIS. If you want to learn more about our master’s program please contact Dr. Myla Vicenti Carpio, director of AIS graduate studies, at Vicenti@asu.edu or 480-727-7989 and about undergraduate program please contact Jennica Fulwilder, academic success specialist, at Jennica.Fulwider@asu.edu or 480-727-7056. I may be reached at 480-727-0060 and pkenney@asu.edu .


Patrick J. Kenney

Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences