Native American Studies

Inuit Foodways Connect Colleges and Continent

Connections that UC Davis scholars built across campus and continents have led to a $298,000 National Science Foundation award to engage with Inuit fermenters in Greenland and support them in identifying the challenges and opportunities for creating a resurgence in Inuit fermented foods. Their research is part of “Navigating the New Arctic,” one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas.

‘A Monumental Step’ in Reclaiming a California Indigenous Language

For his graduate research comparing languages around the world, Lewis Lawyer couldn’t find a single published reference book on Patwin, an endangered language once spoken in hundreds of Northern California communities, including what is now Davis. So, on his way to completing his UC Davis doctorate, Lawyer wrote one. With the release of "A Grammar of Patwin," the findings of his dissertation are now available to scholars as well as to Patwin/Wintun people working to revitalize their ancestral language.

Graduate Student Symposium Celebrates Indigenous Scholarship Around the Globe

To celebrate and connect Indigenous activist-researchers across the hemisphere, UC Davis Department of Native American Studies graduate students are holding their ninth annual research symposium April 26-29. The theme this year is “From Red Power to Wallmapu Libre and Land Back” and the event will feature a lineup of Indigenous scholars and activists, as well as 25 graduate student researchers from UC Davis and beyond who represent a multitude of disciplines and collaborate with numerous Indigenous communities.

The Nature of the Humanities

Through a rich and interwoven mix of the humanities — literature, human rights, ethnic studies, art — UC Davis faculty and students are deepening the world’s understanding of climate change and its lasting grip on the human experience.

Recent graduate Jumana Esau (B.A., English, ’20) combined her passions for literary scholarship and human rights to explore climate change and its impact on overlooked and vulnerable populations. Her honors thesis examines African futuristic works in climate fiction.

Rethinking Wildfire: Cultural Burning and the Art of Not Fighting Fire

Devastating wildfires raging across California this year have been perceived mostly as a destructive force. But prior to European arrival in California, Native Americans used fire as a restorative land management technique that cleared underbrush and encouraged new plant growth.

The practice of “cultural burning” is being explored at UC Davis by students and faculty in collaboration with tribes through the Native American studies course “Keepers of the Flame.” 

Alumna Anthropologist and Media Scholar Receives MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

UC Davis alumna Mary L. Gray, an anthropologist and media scholar who investigates how labor, identity and human rights are transformed by the digital economy, has been named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. Gray (B.A., anthropology and Native American studies, ’92) is one of 21 fellows announced Oct. 6 by the MacArthur Foundation.