Native American and Indigenous Studies

Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at UConn is a vibrant hub for research, scholarship, and outreach among scholars, students, and Indigenous community members. Our mission is to become a center for renewed presence of Indigenous peoples in Connecticut, New England, and the entire Eastern region of the United States.

Our Faculty

UConn NAIS faculty members have diverse interests that span the social sciences, humanities, life sciences, and education. This academic breadth allows us to explore topics that impact Native American and Indigenous communities from various perspectives and to establish unique collaborations between disciplines.

Sandy Grande

Professor of Political Science and Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
On fellowship leave for academic year 2022-2023

Nate Acebo

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
On fellowship leave for academic year 2022-2023

Chen Chen

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Neag School of Education

Hana Maruyama

Assistant Professor of History
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Kat Milligan-McClellan

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Chris Newell

Tribal Community Member-in-Residence and Interim Co-Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies; Director of Education, Akomawt Educational Initiative
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Contact Us

For more information about UConn Native American and Indigenous Studies during the 2022-2023 academic year, please contact:


Chris Newell

Tribal Community Member-in-Residence and Interim Co-Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies
christopher.newell@uconn.edu


Sherry Zane

Associate Professor-in-Residence and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Interim Co-Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies
sherry.zane@uconn.edu

Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative

UConn NAIS currently offers an undergraduate minor to students at the University of Connecticut. In addition to expanding our curriculum at UConn, we are involved in several initiatives that aim to strengthen the Native American and Indigenous community at UConn and beyond our campuses.

Among our priorities is to build stronger relations between UConn and the five recognized tribes in Connecticut: The Mohegan, the Mashantucket Pequot, the Schaghticoke, the Golden Hill Paugussett, and the Eastern Pequot. Improving these relations will offer new insights into our region’s history and the continuing inequities faced by Indigenous peoples. They will also provide an inclusive structure from which to build restorative collaborations and community-driven programming and research.

Other ongoing initiatives include:

  • We work closely with UConn’s Native American Cultural Programs and the Native American and Indigenous Students Association to build student community at the Storrs and regional campuses.
  • We sponsor collaborative events where scholars and students can exchange ideas, such as IndigiPalooza, an annual series with panel discussions and external speakers.
  • UConn NAIS is a founding member of the Quinnehtukqut River Collective, which brings together scholars, students, and tribal community members from UConn and other academic institutions to build community in the region.
  • We are expanding the most recent work of Land Grab CT, a project produced in conjunction with other UConn partners to collect and map land data tied to land-grant Universities and the 1862 Morrill Act.
  • We are partnering with the Akomawt Educational Initiative to establish a summit with key stakeholders and community members. The goals of this summit include developing a strategic plan to reclaim UConn and the Northeast as a vibrant site of NAIS research and discussing the future of Indigenous education in the region.