Melanie Benson Taylor to Become North Park House Professor

Next month, Associate Professor and Chair of Native American Studies Melanie Taylor and her husband, Alan Taylor, a lecturer in writing, will pack up their house in New London, N.H., and move with their 2-year old son, Abel, into a large Victorian house on North Park Street—part of the College’s new house communities system. Taylor says she’s thrilled to begin next term as the resident professor for North Park House.

“It will be a learning process for me,” says Taylor. “I am eager to get to know the members of this house community and to learn their interests and desires so we can all decide how to create activities that will be a good fit.”

Taylor will replace Dean Rebecca Biron, who filled the post temporarily after Ryan Calsbeek, an associate professor of biological sciences, stepped down.


BETHEL – After months of tension, discord and questions about its very viability from some of its Southwest Alaska member tribes, the region's leading Alaska Native nonprofit answered this week with a call for unity, a new power structure and for the first time, a woman in charge.

The Association of Village Council Presidents, made of 56 tribes in 48 villages throughout the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, punctuated its annual convention in Bethel on Thursday with the naming of Vivian Johnson Korthuis as its first chief executive officer.

When financial troubles started to become apparent to AVCP leaders in August 2015, Korthuis, who grew up in the village of Emmonak, led the effort to turn the organization around, board members said.


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N. Bruce Duthu ’80 to Lead International and Interdisciplinary Programs

N. Bruce Duthu ’80, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, will be the next Frank. J. Guarini Associate Dean for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs. He succeeds Lynn Higgins, the Edward Tuck Professor of French and a professor of comparative literature, of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and of film and media studies. She has held the office since 2011.

Two Undergraduates Named Udall Scholars

JoRee LaFrance ’17, from Crow Agency, Montana, and Helen Thomas ’18, from Grand Forks, N.D., have been awarded 2016 scholarships from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

They join 58 other Udall Scholars—exceptional student leaders from 49 colleges and universities around the country who are committed to careers in the environment, American Indian health care, or tribal public policy. The scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year.

Read the full article here.

JoRee LaFrance ’17 Preserves Native American Stories

Growing up on a ranch on the Crow reservation in Montana, surrounded by family—her mother, father, twin sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—JoRee LaFrance ’17 knows the power of storytelling.

“My grandmother, Joan Horn, has always been the person we all go to,” LaFrance says. She recently began using her smart phone to record her grandmother’s tales. Her favorite is about a boy raised by bighorn sheep.

“His stepfather pushes him over a cliff, but he gets caught on a tree and hears voices talking in Crow,” LaFrance explains. The “voices” belong to bighorn sheep who end up raising the boy until he can be returned to his family. The moral: Speaking your native language, and living in harmony with animals, can save your life.

Read the full article here.

2015-2016 Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow

Completed at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, her recent thesis focused on the sociocultural impacts of hydroelectric development among the James Bay Cree, in Northern Quebec. For the last 10 year, she has been doing ethnographic research in the Community of Nemaska, documenting how the Cree hunting practices and, more generally, their relationship to land have been challenged by their greater integration in the resource development industry since the signing of the “Peace of the Braves” Agreement, in 2002. At the crossroads between anthropology of development, political ontology and Native Studies, her research aims at describing how, in the contemporary Canadian context, Native sovereignty and land ethics, as well as land tenure systems, are more and more embedded in the neoliberal governance rationale.

BackCountry Skiers Team Up With Green Mountain National Forest

For years, backcountry skiers have been illegally cutting trees and brush to open up trails. As the sport grows in popularity, officials with Green Mountain National Forest hope a new pilot program in Vermont could become a model to curb unsanctioned cutting, and expand terrain at the same time.  Professor Nick Reo and Dartmouth students are designing backcountry ski/snowboard trails that are as low impact on the forest and wildlife as possible and are monitoring for unintended ecological impacts.

Read the entire VRP news story here.


NAS' inaugural Off-Campus Program in Santa Fe, NM

Native American Studies’ inaugural Off-Campus Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico launched in September 2015.  The program is based at the Institute of American Indian Art where students are studying federal Indian law, contemporary Native American art and the history of the Native Southwest.  Students have participated in field trips to tribal communities, art galleries, museums, archives, and sites of historic significance.  The attached photo shows the group on a visit to Window Rock, Arizona, capital of the Navajo Nation.

2015-2016 Eastman Fellow: Farina King

Bilagáanaa niliigo’ dóó Kinyaa’áaniiyásh’chíín. Bilagáanaa dabicheii dóó Tsinaajinii dabinálí. Ákót’éego diné asdzá̹á̹ nilí̹. Farina King is “Bilagáanaa” (Euro-American), born for “Kinyaa’áanii” (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). Her maternal grandfather was Euro-American, and her paternal grandfather was “Tsinaajinii” (Black-streaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. She is currently a U.S. History Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University. She received her M.A. in African History from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. from Brigham Young University with a double major in History and French Studies. Her main area of research is colonial and post-colonial Indigenous Studies, primarily Indigenous experiences of colonial and distant education. Farina has written and presented about Indigenous Mormon experiences in the twentieth century, drawing from some interviews that she conducted for the Latter-day Saint Native American Oral History Project at Brigham Young University.

Joy Porter named Fulbright Scholar at Dartmouth

Joy Porter holds a Professorship in Indigenous Studies at the University of Hull, U.K. She gained her PhD and MA in 1993 from the University of Nottingham, U.K. and has held fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. She has written a series of books, including studies of American Indian environmentalism, Indian Freemasonry and Indian intellectualism, that connect Native American history to modernity and its meanings. During her stay at Dartmouth College, Joy will be developing her next project, a study of unconventional warfare within Native history across three centuries called Native American Indian Ways of War. Joy will also be contributing to the Yale Group for the Study of Native America, and speaking at West Point Military Academy and Virginia Commonwealth University. Joy’s ambition as an historian is to work to displace stereotype and to make Native concerns central across disciplinary boundaries.

Read more here.