This July and August, graduate students from the 20 colleges and universities composing the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS) will participate in the summer institute “Recording the Native Americas: Indigenous Speech, Representation, and the Politics of Writing.” This month-long event is coordinated by the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, which includes Director Patricia Marroquin Norby and Program Assistant Nicolas Arms, and will be taught by guest institute instructors Ellen Cushman and Rocío Quispe-Agnoli from Michigan State University. The institute will address modes of writing and representation that both create and legitimize systems of power, subordination, and “meaning making,” a subject essential to the humanities in general and to American Indian studies in particular. With the legacy of colonial relations in the Americas in mind, participants will consider how the acquisition of an alphabetic script affected American indigenous communities—their identities, languages, and cultural institutions—and what knowledge is produced today about these communities. Such considerations will provide the framework for “Recording the Native Americas.”
The NCAIS summer institute will commence the D’Arcy McNickle Center’s scholarly programs under the direction of Patricia Marroquin Norby, who was appointed center director in February 2014. Of Purépecha/Nde and Chicana heritage, Marroquin Norby is the first indigenous woman to serve as full-time director of the research center in the Newberry’s history. She is an award-winning artist and scholar of American Indian art and visual culture. Her work draws on a background in fine arts to make critical connections between art production, environmental politics, and the physical health of American Indian women artists. Marroquin Norby arrived at the Newberry in the fall of 2013 as assistant director of the McNickle Center.
The Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies launched its programming in 2009. The scholarly consortium draws on the Newberry's world-renowned collections in American Indian and indigenous materials and the resources of the D’Arcy McNickle Center to offer programs such as the NCAIS summer institute, annual conferences and symposiums, and seasonal workshops. Since 1972, the award-winning McNickle Center has also supported major publications in American Indian and indigenous studies, organized public programming, and served as host to diplomatic exchanges with international indigenous communities and delegations.