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"I hope AISA can win more awards, and the American Indian Studies Program will continue raising awareness of the rich history and cultures of the native nations in California and the United States."


New academic year marks new beginnings for the American Indian Studies Program

American Indian Studies Program logoThe American Indian Studies Program has a new home and a new coordinator.  In July, the program moved from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to the College of Humanities, and Scott Andrews was appointed the new coordinator.  He is an associate professor of English and he is starting his fourth year as the associate chair of the English Department.

“I want to thank Dr. Karren Baird-Olson for all the hard work and devotion she has given to the American Indian Studies Program and to the American Indian Student Association,” Dr. Andrews said. Dr. Baird-Olson, an associate professor with a joint appointment in Sociology and American Indian Studies, had been the coordinator since her arrival at CSUN in 2000.  Dr. Baird-Olson is of Wyandot descent and married into the Nakota Nation of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Reservation in Montana.  “She has been a big-hearted warrior her whole life – in her fight for American Indian civil rights and in her mentoring of CSUN’s native students.”

During her time as coordinator, American Indian Student Association (AISA) won awards for its programming and events, and the CSUN annual powwow was revived. In 2006, she won the Advisor of the Year Award from the Associated Students. “I hope AISA can win more awards, and the American Indian Studies Program will continue raising awareness of the rich history and cultures of the native nations in California and the United States,” Dr. Andrews said.

Dr. Andrews has been a faculty advisor for AISA and has served on the advisory board for the program since his arrival at CSUN in 2000.  In 2008, he received the Don Dorsey Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2008.  He is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and he has published reviews, essays, poems, and fiction. His latest publication is a prose poem titled “I (Thunderheart) N.Y.,” which will be included in an upcoming issue of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics devoted to American Indian authors.

“I think the American Indian Studies Program can thrive in the College of Humanities, where it already has many friends among the students and faculty,” he said. “Provost Harry Hellenbrand and Dean Elizabeth Say have been wonderful in making the transition smooth and in making me, as a new coordinator in the college, feel welcome and valued. They also have remained focused on making the transition as smooth as possible for the students.”

The move has been physical as well as organizational. The offices for AIS and AISA had been located for several years on the first floor of Sierra Hall. American Indian Studies is now housed in the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs (Sierra Hall 194), and the American Indian Student Association is moving to the Chicano House Annex, where it will share office and meeting space with the Central American Student Association and Chicana/o Studies student groups.

Over the summer, the AIS advisory board met to revise its mission statement. The new mission state is: “To promote an understanding of American Indian history, cultures, and tribal sovereignty with a focus on Southern California tribes, urban American Indians, and other indigenous peoples in a global context.”

Congratulations to the following College of Humanities faculty
for their years of service.
Faculty Completing 25 Years of Service
  • Richard Battaglia, English Department
  • Jody Myers, Religious Studies Department
  • Eva Margarita Nieto, Chicana/o Studies Department
  • Richard Rodewald, Philosophy Department
  • Sharon Smartt, EnglishDepartment
Faculty Completing 30 Years of Service
  • Mary Pardo, Chicana/o Studies Department
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