2016 Fall Workshop for the

Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism and Diaspora

 "Native american + Indigenous Studies, Colonialism, and the University"


Building on last year’s faculty vote to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day and the tremendous student activism that motivated that vote, this year’s RCD Fall Workshop examines the relationship between Indigenous studies, colonialism, and the university. The workshop features interactive events led by Indigenous studies scholars and a studio dialogue with a renowned Diné photographer and a few of his subjects from Wampanoag, Aquinnah, and Narragansett tribal communities. These events are designed to cultivate and shape campus dialogue around Indigenous Studies, to set the stage for a greater curricular focus on Indigenous Studies at Tufts, and to build meaningful relationships with tribal communities in our region. 


The workshop will take place on Friday, October 14 and will unfold in three sessions that engage issues central to Indigenous Studies: the politics of research, race and Indigeneity, forms of colonialism, and Indigenous intellectual traditions. But these events will also highlight the intersections between Indigenous Studies and other disciplines (Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Africana Studies, Colonialism Studies, Literary and Visual Art, Gender Studies among others). To this end the workshop will be cosponsored by other organizations on campus including the CHAT Mellon Sawyer Seminar, the University Chaplaincy, CHAT, and the Art Gallery. In the coming months we will also seek cosponsorship from the LGBT Center, the Office of the Provost, and the Departments of English and Anthropology with the intension to encourage as diverse and multidisciplinary a participating audience as possible. 


Finally, this workshop is not only determined to nurture and support a conversations and curricular interest in Indigenous Studies on campus, it will also be an opportunity to build relationships with tribal communities in the area. To this end, following the event, several organizers along with Will Wilson will travel to Mashpee Wampanoag, Aquinnah Wampanoag, and Narragansett to meet with tribal leaders and have Wilson photograph community members. Many of those community members will have participated in the RCD workshop during the plenary session and the CIPX roundtable, where they will have driven key conversations about representation, power, and community. In addition, the Art Gallery along with the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has commissioned Wilson to make a “community portrait” to be displayed on the “Gallery Without Walls.” This is an opportunity for us as a campus to reconsider that the idea of campus community within the historical and geographical context of ongoing US colonialism. This portrait will be on display through the fall.