Summer Institute on Global Indigeneities

Year of Funding: 
2017/2018
Navigational stick chart

Institute: June 26-July 1, 2017

The 2017 Summer Institute on Global Indigeneities is a collaboration among scholars to articulate indigeneity—in the double sense of describing indigeneity as an intellectual project and connecting it to key theoretical and political concerns within and beyond the academy. Hosted on the traditional homelands and waters of the Duwamish, Suquamish, Muckleshoot, Tulalip, and other Coast Salish peoples, the institute gathers graduate students and faculty from across institutions, including the Universities of Washington (Seattle), British Columbia (Vancouver), California (Los Angeles), Hawai‘i (Mānoa), Minnesota (Twin-Cities), and Oregon. Working collaboratively, we generate a set of epistemological, methodological, and professional strategies for creative research projects in Indigenous studies that may not always be legible to conventional academic disciplines.

The institute was successfully launched at the Simpson Center in summer 2016 and modeled after the UW Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities. The week consists of discipline-specific workshops and professional-development workshops for graduate students, demystifying processes such as scholarly publications and grant proposals, as well as drawing on the critical mass of Native Studies scholars at the UW. In the middle of the week, we devote a day to learning with members of the Suquamish Tribe, building on collaborator Vicente Diaz (University of Minnesota)’s longstanding relationship with the tribe. In the spirit of reciprocity, we plan to invite a group of approximately 20 high school students from Suquamish to spend a day in summer 2017 with faculty members who will to the opportunities that the UW offers for native knowledge production. The institute includes a public research symposium, in which all graduate fellows produce a ten-minute presentation on their dissertation projects, as well as collaboration with the Burke Museum on developing public forms of scholarship.


Photo: Navigational stick chart. These charts were used in the Marshall Islands other locations throughout Oceania. Islands in the water disrupt the patterns of ocean swells by diverting the waves around them. The navigators make charts to note the islands (the shells in the charts) and the water patterns around the islands. That way navigators know where they are in relation to the land without ever seeing the islands. Charts were typically made from the midrib of the coconut fronds and cowrie shells.

The late Pacific Islander scholar Epeli Hau'ofa's suggest that stick charts show how the ocean binds rather than separates people in Oceania. The deep knowledge of remote oceans shows the ancestral navigation routes between what we now consider "nations," and the historical connections of peoples prior to colonization. (Explanation via Holly Barker of the Burke Museum.)

Primary Contacts

José Antonio Lucero (Jackson School of International Studies)

Chadwick Allen (English)

Katie Bunn-Marcuse (Burke Museum and Art History)

Josh Reid (History and American Indian Studies)

Chris Teuton (American Indian Studies)

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Other Funding Years: 2015/2016