Indigenous Voices at #NASPA21

March 22 — Keynote Speaker Daniel Wildcat, a professor of Indigenous and American Indian studies at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), opened up his address with a land acknowledgment, a theme brought by Indigenous presenters to the 2021 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Virtual Conference. Wildcat, a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation, was the first Indigenous keynote speaker for the organization in over 10 years.

Efforts to include Indigenous voices in the organization can be traced to HINU Alumna Charlotte Davidson and the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community (KC). The Indigenous Peoples KC is just one of 38 NASPA knowledge communities that serve key topics, professional functions, and personal identities. In a statement, NASPA said that in 2019 the Indigenous Peoples KC held a two-day meeting “reckoning with some significant ways in which NASPA had not lived its own core values of inclusion in [their] work with leaders and members from the Indigenous Peoples (IP) community in student affairs.” The 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference is the first annual conference held since the meeting and since the organization made the statement, “Repairing and Re-centering NASPA’s Work with the Indigenous Peoples Community.”

Davidson said, “The meetings were rooted in conciliation, which has catalyzed movement toward creating an empowering organizational context for Indigenous Peoples. Several material outcomes, such as the appointment of the first Indigenous member of NASPA’s Board of Directors and my appointment as NASPA’s Indigenous Relations Advisor, are a result of NASPA’s commitment to increasing the participation and representation of Indigenous Peoples.”

Davidson commented on the success of the integration of Indigenous voices at the conference with over 450 participants registering for the Power and Place Symposium and an opening session which she said, “[Beautifully] wove in a land acknowledgment for over 8,000 attendees from around the world.” The conference included several sessions led by and inclusive of Indigenous Peoples; among those were several HINU faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

“What the culmination of these experiences means for me, as an Indigenous person, is that I feel both seen and heard,” said Davidson, who is  Diné and an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes known as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D., Keynote Address.

Indigenous Voices at the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference

“Power and Place Symposium: Indigenous Worldviews of Higher Education”

Moderator: Charlotte Davidson, Ph.D.

Guest: Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D.

What the Profession Needs to Know About Indigenous Peoples in Higher Education: A conversation with Dr. Daniel Wildcat about Power and Place

Moderator: Melissa Holder, Ph.D.

Panelists: Fredina Drye-Romero; Patrick Naranjo; & Toni Tsatoke-Mule, Ph.D.

Haskell Alumni: Reflections on Persistence and Degree Attainment

Moderator: Freda Gipp, Ph.D.

Panelists: Priscilla Ortiz-LaChappa, Autumn Powell, & William Wilkinson

Next-Gen Haskell Student Success

Moderator: Byron Tsabetsaye

Panelists: Melissa Holder, Ph.D.; Manny King; & Laura Rice

Developing Tribal College Students: Haskell Student Affairs Administrators

Moderators: Brett Bruner, Ph.D. & Kimberlie Moock

Panelists: Pam Agoyo; Chad Hamill, Ph.D.; Matthew Makomenaw, Ph.D.; Cheryl Crazy Bull, Ph.D.; J. Māhealani Quirk; & Byron Tsabetsaye

Becoming Indigenous Student Ready: A Primer for Non-Native Colleges and Universities


Awardee: Tiffany Smith

2021 Melvene D. Hard Dissertation of the Year

NASPA conference sessions under Indigenous Peoples category:

Presenters: Tiffany Smith, Ph.D. & Corey Still, Ph.D.

Enacting Indigenous Methodologies as Resistance and Reciprocity for Nation-Building and Indigenous College Student Persistence

Presenters: Piertro Sasso & Ashley Jeffers, M.S.Ed

Personal “Reservations”: Selective Invisibility in Multiracial Native American Students

Presenters: Ashley Aikau-Osurman, Camry Isabel, Rachel Loo, & J. Māhealani Quirk.

Makalapua Naauao: A Native Hawaiian to Responsive & Holistic Advising

Moderator: Charlotte Davidson, Ph.D

Panelists: Tiffani Kelly & Byron Tsabetsaye

Native Student Affairs in a Time of COVID-19

Presenter: April Yazza

D-I-Y Indigenous Land Acknowledgments–seriously, do it yourself

Indigenous panelists (marked with *) in other NASPA conference sessions

Panelists: *Charlotte Davidson, William Franklin, Enku Gelaye, & Elena Sandoval-Lucero

Featured Educational Session: The Role of Student Affairs in Leading JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Work

Moderator: Angela Batista

Panelists: Mordecai Brownlee & *Byron Tsabetsaye

Community Dialogue: Supporting the Professional Life Cycle

Community Circles lead by Indigenous facilitators (4 of 17)

Facilitator: Charlotte Davidson, Ph.D.

(Re)constructing the Community Climate

Facilitator: Freda Gipp, Ph.D.

Responding to Students’ Changing Needs

Facilitator: Jenifer Māhealani Quirk

Responding to Students’ Changing Needs

Facilitator: Ashley McMiIlan

Supporting the Professional Life Cycle

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