Videos of Myers Center Events

The Brackeen Decision and the Future of the Indian Child Welfare Act

The Brackeen Decision and the Future of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

The Brackeen Decision and the Future of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

Sarah Deer, University Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas, and Chief Justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals

Justice Sarah Deer discusses the recent Supreme Court decision in Brackeen v. Haaland, which upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). She explores what this opinion means going forward and offer insight into the future of ICWA.

Sponsor: Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues (part of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues)

Co-sponsors: Center for Race and Gender, Native American Student Development, Native American Law Student Association

Reuniting with Our Lands and Waters: Indigenous Access and Political Ecology in Settler States

Indigenous Nations face significant challenges when it comes to the interrelated processes of cultural knowledge revitalization and environmental adaptation. These challenges range from compromised local ecological health brought about by development and climate change, to limited access to land due to legal, social, and/or political barriers, and to obstacles to knowledge transmission caused by educational and economic forces. This talk views these challenges in the context of past and ongoing mutually constitutive structures of settler colonialism and capitalism, as well as through a framework of “relational continuity,” in which Indigenous peoples seek to maintain relational obligations to land and more-than-humans despite spatial and social change. Specifically, I discuss my long-term work with Cherokee people in Oklahoma on tribal environmental policy, land-based education, and comprehensive conservation strategies.

Sponsored by: ISSI's Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Co-sponsored by: Native American Student Development, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, and Mgmt. (ESPM), Native American Studies, American Indian Graduate Program

Blythe George: Concentrated Trauma and the Reservation Effect

The case of tribal reservation communities provides a unique context in which to examine and extend considerations of social organization and marginalization through the lens of settler colonialism. Drawing from the case of the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Reservations of northern California, I show how “the reservation” is the seat of deep spiritual and personal meaning in the present day, yet so too was it a place where social inequalities clustered, especially violence, health comorbidities and polysubstance use disorder epidemics including methamphetamine and OxyContin. Nonetheless, the reservation was characterized by expansive social networks and high acquaintance density. Despite the strength and efficacy of social ties on the reservation, the “thick” connections that were dense and overlapping between individuals and families could also, in turn, extrapolate the trauma and tragedy of any one node to the level of the network. Drawing from ethnographic in-depth interviews across 1,000+ exposure hours and drafted in collaboration with the Yurok Tribal Court, I theorize a “reservation effect” whereby “concentrated trauma” sits alongside the sacred such that those who seek the latter must first navigate the former.  Rather than some fundamental breakdown in a social organization or an inability to activate their social connections, it is the imposition of the settler-colonial project that has soured the rich resources of Indigenous social networks across generations and thereby produced neither strong nor weak ties, but rather ties that “cut both ways.”

Sponsored by ISSI's Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Co-sponsred by Department of Sociology

Honoring the Legacy of Joseph A. Myers (1940-2020)

September 25, 2021

Welcome: Carol Christ, Chancellor, UC Berkeley


Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, Chair, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, and Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley

Shari Huhndorf, Class of 1938 Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Christina Tlatilpa Inong, ASW, Program Specialist, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and former student of Professor Myers

Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director, Native American Cultural Center, Stanford University

Raquelle Myers, Joe's daughter and Executive Director, National Indian Justice Center

Nicole Myers-Lim, Joe's daughter and Director, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

ISSI Social Change Awards Ceremony 2021

Please join us as we honor Phenocia Bauerle and Boun Khamnouane, recipients of the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, and Aurora Lopez and Tabitha Bell, recipients of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize. 

“Am I an American or Not? The Perils to Democracy When Racism Shouts Louder Than Facts, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution”

Keynote by Donald K. Tamaki, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP.

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Co-sponsored by: Asian American Research Center, Center for Research on Social Change, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Chronopolitics And Knowledge Production In Migration Studies

How is the violence to which indigenous women migrants are subjected related to “neoliberal multicriminalism” and settler structures of indigenous dispossession and elimination? And how might migration law consider the colonial origins and impacts that undergird state policies on territorial sovereignty and border regulation?

Sponsored by Center for Race and Gender’s Native/Immigrant/Refugee – Crossings Research Initiative

Shannon Speed (Chickasaw), Professor of Gender Studies & Anthropology, and Director of the American Indian Studies Center, UCLA 

Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor of Law, and Director of the American Indian Law Program at University of Colorado Law School 

Angela Riley (Potawatomi), Professor of Law, and Director of Native Nations Law and Policy Center, UCLA School of Law

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, Native American Studies, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues at UC Berkeley; American Indian Studies Center, and Native Nations Law and Policy Center at UCLA; and the University of Colorado American Indian Law Program.

UC Land Grab: A Legacy of Profit from Indigenous Land - Part 1

Wide-scale U.S. higher education began in 1862 when the Morrill Act provided each state with “public” lands to sell for the establishment of university endowments. The public land-grant university movement is lauded as the first major federal funding for higher education and for making liberal and practical education accessible to Americans of average means. However hidden beneath the oft-told land-grant narrative is the land itself: the nearly 11 million acres of land sold through the Morrill Act was expropriated from tribal nations. This two-part forum examines the 150,000 acres of Indigenous land that funded the University of California, how this expropriation is intricately tied to California’s unique history of Native dispossession and genocide, and how UC continues to benefit from this wealth accumulation today. Part 2 explores current university initiatives with tribes and includes a community dialogue on actions the University of California can take to address their responsibility to California Indigenous communities.
Read more about the two-part series here, including a complete list of speakers and other resources.

UC Berkeley: Native American Student Development; Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues; Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology; Rausser College of Natural Resources; Berkeley Food Institute; Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program; Native American Studies; American Indian Graduate Program; The Center for Race and Gender; Native American Staff Council

UC Davis: Department of Native American Studies

UC Riverside: Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs; California Center for Native Nations; Native American Student Programs

Community Partners: Riverside-San Bernardino Native American Community Council

Governing Rosebud Reservation: Anti-Politics, Rendering Technical, Rendering Moral

This talk will be based on Prof. Biolsi’s recently published book, Power and Progress on the Prairie, which traces the history of “modernization,” “improvement,” or “progress” on Rosebud Reservation. The central question of the book is how ideas about making things “better” were invented and applied to the people—both Indian and white—and the land. The cases examined include plans to “civilize” Indians and “modernize” farmers; to rationally manage agricultural production and land-use; to mitigate environmental problems; to “rationalize” plans for nuclear war to increase the likelihood of “national survival”; and to extend voting rights to Lakota people. Each of these plans or programs is an example of what Biolsi calls governing. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault on governmentality, the book aims to understand how “problems” requiring correction came into public focus, or were actively made by experts with “remedies” or “solutions” in search of problems to fix. 

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Native American Studies Program, Native American Student Development, American Indian Graduate Program, American Indian Graduate Student Association

Indigeneity and Immigration

Dr. Rivera-Salgado will discuss the process of "Indigenization" of Mexican migration to California and the unique challenges this population faces as they incorporate as long-term migrants into the fabric of US society. He will discuss the emergence of indigenous-led organizations that sustain collective action among these immigrants both here in California and in their communities of origin in Mexico. Some of the questions he will address are: How do we as scholars engage in successful collaborations with diverse communities in California? How do we choose the right research questions and what problems to address? How can we be clear about research roles in a collaboration with organized groups or different marginalized communities? Who are producers of knowledge? Who owns the data of a participatory action research project?

Valley Life Science Building, room 2040

Co-sponsored by: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; Department of Ethnic Studies; Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society; Native American Student Development; American Indian Graduate Program, Center for Race and Gender, Latinx Center of Excellence, Center for Latin American Studies.

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez : Hegemonies of Language and Their Discontents

Spanish and English have fought a centuries-long battle for dominance in the Southwest North American Region, commonly known as the U.S.-Mexico transborder region. Covering the time period of 1540 to the present, the book provides a deep and broad understanding of the contradictory methods of establishing language supremacy and details the linguistic and cultural processes used by penetrating imperial and national states. He argues that these impositions were not linear but hydra-headed, complex and contradictory, sometimes accommodating and many times forcefully imposed.  Such impositions created arcs of discontent resulting in physical and linguistic revolts, translanguage versions, and multilayered capacities of use and misuse of imposed languages—even the invention of a locally-created trilingual dictionary. These narratives are supported by multiple sources, including original Spanish colonial documents and new and original ethnographic studies of performance rituals like the matachines of New Mexico. This unique work integrates the most recent neurobiological studies of bilingualism and their implications for cognitive development and language as it spans multiple disciplines. Finally, it provides the most important models for dual language development and their integration to the Funds of Knowledge concept—each contributing  creative contemporary discontents to monolingual impositions and approaches.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: American Indian Graduate Student Association, Latinx Research Center, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, Native American Student Development

On Indian Ground: California. A Return to Indigenous Knowledge

Joely Proudfit and Nicole Myers-Lim, authors and editors of On Indian Ground: California will discuss issues related to Native American education reform. They will address the impacts of genocide, colonization, racism and historical bias upon curriculum and student achievement. Additionally, they will present holistic indigenous perspectives that can be integrated into systems of education to foster equity, success and social justice.

117 Dwinelle HallAcademic Innovation Studio

Co-sponsored by: American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Student Development, American Indian Graduate Student Association, Native American Studies, Indigenous Language Revitalization DE, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education.

William J. Bauer, Jr. : California Through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History

In 1935, Concow Austin McLaine, of northern California’s Round Valley Reservation, told an oral tradition about Lizard, who saw smoke wafting up from West Mountain, now known as Lassen Peak. The people in Lizard’s town planned to steal fire from Eagle, who selfishly kept the fire under his wings. The people teamed up, stole the fire, and raced with it back to town. Before they reached their roundhouse, however, Coyote grabbed the fire, dropped it and set the entire Sacramento Valley ablaze. Traditionally, scholars have treated oral traditions, such as the story of Lizard, as quaint myths. This presentation argues that California Indian oral traditions present an Indigenous version of California’s history and engaged in the political events of the Great Depression. California Indians used their oral traditions to challenge preexisting narratives of California’s past, to claim land and place in the 1930s and provide California Indians with a path to follow in the future. 

Followed by a reception.

Multicultural Community Center (MCC), 220 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley

Sponsor: Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Andrew Jolivette : "Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change and Societal Transformation "

This talk examines how we can approach research from new ways that center collective responsibility and and shared ownership over the research process. In particular Jolivette will review the thinking behind the development of his edited volume, Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change and the influential work of Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Dr. Michelle Fine who are contributors to this project. Central to the presentation and discussion will be the work of the DataCenter, a grassroots community-based organization in Oakland where the term Research Justice was coined. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Wa

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, and American Indian Graduate Student Association

Victoria Haskins: "The Indian maiden is not allowed to pine in loneliness”

The remarkable story of Ruth Kellett Roberts (1885-1967) and her advocacy for the Yurok Tribe of Del Norte County on the Pacific northwest coast of California provides a fascinating insight into relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in the 1920s and 1930s, a time of rapid social change. The wife of the accountant of a salmon cannery at Requa on the lower Klamath, Ruth Roberts was befriended by local Yurok women, in particular Alice Spott, and quickly became a passionate supporter of the ongoing Yurok struggle for land and employment. Over the next two decades, until the closure of the river to commercial fishing, Roberts was a staunch advocate for the Yurok cause, utilising her connections with society women in the Bay area of San Francisco. In 1928 she formed a ‘Yurok Club,’ for the young Indian women whom she had assisted in finding domestic situations in the Bay. Her initiative would, however, bring her into direct conflict with the BIA Outing matron who oversaw the placement of other Indian girls in white homes in San Francisco and the Bay. In this paper, I reflect upon the ambivalent and complex nature of Roberts’ advocacy for the Yurok people through her involvement with Indian domestic employment, an engagement that highlights broader questions around the political significance and impact of women’s work in the home, in the modern settler colonial nation.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, American Indian Graduate Student Association, and Center for Race and Gender

Renya Ramirez: "Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond"

Most Native Americans in the United States live in cities, where many find themselves caught in a bind, neither afforded the full rights granted U.S. citizens nor allowed full access to the tribal programs and resources—particularly health care services—provided to Native Americans living on reservations. A scholar and a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Renya K. Ramirez investigates how urban Native Americans negotiate what she argues is, in effect, a transnational existence. Through an ethnographic account of the Native American community in California’s Silicon Valley and beyond, Ramirez explores the ways that urban Indians have pressed their tribes, local institutions, and the federal government to expand conventional notions of citizenship

Professor Ramirez’s ethnography revolves around the Paiute American activist Laverne Roberts’s notion of the “hub,” a space that allows for the creation of a sense of belonging away from a geographic center. Professor Ramirez describes “hub-making” activities in Silicon Valley, including sweat lodge ceremonies, powwows, and American Indian Alliance meetings, gatherings at which urban Indians reinforce bonds of social belonging and forge intertribal alliances. She examines the struggle of the Muwekma Ohlone, a tribe aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay area, to maintain a sense of community without a land base and to be recognized as a tribe by the federal government. She considers the crucial role of Native women within urban indigenous communities; a 2004 meeting in which Native Americans from Mexico and the United States discussed cross-border indigenous rights activism; and the ways that young Native Americans in Silicon Valley experience race and ethnicity, especially in relation to the area’s large Chicano community. A unique and important exploration of diaspora, transnationalism, identity, belonging, and community, Native Hubs is intended for scholars and activists alike.  Professor Ramirez will discuss the theoretical frame of Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond and a meeting between U.S. Natives and Indigenous people originally from Mexico in relationship to the concept of Native Hubs.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Student Association, American Indian Graduate Program, Department of Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies and Native American Student Development

Robert T. Coulter: "Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, and International Bodies"

For almost 40 years, American Indian nations and other indigenous peoples have organized, worked, and advocated inside the United Nations and other international forums to defend themselves and their cultures and to win recognition of their rights as distinct peoples.  Indigenous peoples fought and negotiated for more than 30 years to win adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly, making historic changes in international law. Indigenous leaders also initiated on-going campaigns in many other international forms dealing with climate change, biodiversity and environmental protection, intellectual property rights, the rights of women, and many other crucial topics. Barely a year ago, they won major commitments from the United Nations to take actions to implement the UN Declaration at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. They are working today to put those commitments into action in the UN. In the Organization of American States as well, indigenous peoples are negotiating and winning an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is expected to be completed in 2016. In the view of some experts, advocacy in international fora may be one of the most productive means for defending and asserting the rights of Indian nations and tribes. The talk will survey what has been accomplished, what is being done now, and how Indian and Alaska Native nations can participate in this work.  Attorney Robert T. Coulter of the Indian Law Resource Center has been working in the United Nations and other international bodies since 1976, when he wrote the first draft of what would become the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Miskoo Petite - "Incarceration/Rehabilitation on the Rosebud Reservation"

Miskoo Petite Sr. has played an integral role in development of innovative cultural based programs and services for the youth detained in the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Juvenile Detention Center. At this talk he will provide a historical overview of federal policies and events that have helped to shape Native American justice systems, highlight the challenges facing these systems, and outline current practices that seek to restore and repair Native American communities by integrating cultural programs.

Bryan Brayboy: "Education, Ethnic Studies and Justice in Arizona"

Bryan Brayboy, Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University

In Arizona and elsewhere, justice is a systematic struggle for recognition. Ethnic Studies programs were created, in Arizona, to provide a sounding board for youth and peoples whose voices are too often marginalized in classroom discussions and materials. Despite the high academic success rates of Tucson students enrolled in ethnic studies, these programs have been framed as dangerous and unproductive. Eventually, the courses were banned from the Tucson Unified School District. In this talk, I will reflect on the role of justice in creating, and later marginalizing, ethnic studies programs in Arizona, while contemplating the importance of youth, structures and social engagement.

Co-sponsored by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education 

Dr. Adrienne Keene: "Native Appropriations"

Dr. Adrienne Keene

"Bullets in the Front, Arrows in the Back: A Look at Humor and Imagery in Indigenous Media” 

Migizi Penseneau

"Changing the Way We See Native America"

Matika Wilbur

Keynote Speaker Panel 

Dr. Adrienne Keene, Migizi Penseneau & Matika Wilbur 

While the history between Native peoples and representations of identity projected upon them (having been replicated and reinforced in popular culture) is layered and complex, the rise of technology and social media has ushered in an era of accessible activism that pushes against this history. Native peoples across the world now have practicable, highly visible modes to express unique voices that challenge and redefine how Natives are represented both internal and external of their communities. "Perspectives on Native Representations" seeks to highlight the multiple contexts through which representations of Native communities, culture and individuals are being shifted and re-imagined.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley's Native American Student Development. Co-sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues.

K. Tsianina Lomawaima: "This Is a Story about History"

K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University; Distinguished Scholar in Indigenous Education, Center for Indian Education, Arizona State University

Many people understand that U.S. citizenship is a fraught and complicated status, one that raises many questions: Who is? Who isn’t? Who might be? Who shouldn’t be? Who’s scary? Who’s safe? Where shall we begin in order to talk about the status of American Indians? Not in 1492; or in 1620 – that’s much too long. We’ll start in 1924 (I am a historian, after all) because that’s the year Congress passed the American Indian Citizenship Act. And we’ll end, not with a date and not with answers, either, but with Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins visiting Zuni Pueblo.

Sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues; co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Social and Cultural Studies Program and Graduate School of Education

Dian Million: “Indigenous Feminisms’ Affective Response to State Violence"

Dian Million, Associate Professor, American Indian Studies, University of Washington, and author of Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights

I consider Indigenism today as an active and affective political position for peoples across continents seeking self-determination. In the United Nations, in Human Rights forums, and in communities Indigenism is a powerful lived and felt movement for our times. At the same time, Human Rights as it is articulated at the international level relies very heavily on the discourses of trauma and restitution to enact “justice” for atrocities committed by states against stateless and Indigenous peoples. Indigenous feminisms now present a growing grass roots response to a normalized violence haunting the lives of Indigenous women, their families and communities. This is a movement that both utilizes the human rights discourse and counters it. Recognizing that violence against Indigenous women undermines any self-determination in practice, how are women both central to the discourse of "trauma" while opposing its assumptions as they struggle for social and economic health? What is an Indigenous Feminist response?

Sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. Co-sponsored by American Indian Graduate Program and Department of Ethnic Studies

Indigenous Peoples' Day 2014

A free, day-long series of events, performances, and participatory activities.

Sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues; the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies; the American Indian Graduate Student Association; the American Indian Graduate Program; Native American Student Development; and Native American Studies.

Dale Walker, "Evidence-Informed Culture-Based Interventions in Native Communities"

Dale Walker, MD, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Director, One Sky Center, Oregon Health and Science University

Co-sponsored by California Pacific Public Health Training Center (CALPACT), UC Berkeley-UCSFJoint Medical Program, Department of Psychology

Perspectives on Native Landscapes

Presentations by Daniel Wildcat, Josh Mori, and Beth Rose Middleton are available at the link above.

While Native American communities have historically maintained a special and deliberate relationship with their ecological landscapes, the concept of environmentalism is not often associated with these populations in a contemporary context. The layered connections between the cultural, historical, legal, and physical environment for Native communities in the United States have influence on not only their physical well-being, but on the economical and spiritual stability of these communities as well. Perspectives on Native Landscapes seeks to highlight the multiple contexts through which we approach environmentalism as well as open conversations around relationships with our landscapes, homelands and natural resource management concerning Native communities.

Sponsored by Native American Student Development. Co-sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Duane Champagne - Interface Between Native American Culture, Economic Growth and Institution

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology, American Indian Studies, and Law, UC Los Angeles

Economic development, and social change in general, is a multidimensional and institutional process. An argument is offered that the patterns of indigenous institutional autonomy, the presence or absence of market values and institutions, access to markets, and the constraints of external bureaucratic control play key roles in understanding the possibilities of sustained and beneficial market participation among American Indian nations. In the way of introduction, the arguments are traced through the literature and examples given from history and policy. A case study is provided which traces economic, cultural, and political change among the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.