About the Programs

Identity and Academic Integrity

American Indian Studies is committed to the highest standards of professional and scholarly conduct and the best ideals of academic freedom. We are also committed to developing strong and sustaining partnerships with people and programs in American Indian and Indigenous communities. These commitments will sometimes create tensions and might at times be in conflict, but we see them both as necessary to our conception of the work we do. Free academic inquiry helps us to test the limits of accepted wisdom, seek out new approaches to chronic problems, and recognize that being creative about the future might lead us to embrace people and ideas that have been in various ways excluded from the American Indian social and political world. At the same time, our commitment to partnering with people and programs in Native communities creates a need for us to make our work intelligible to a constitutive audience of that work. While we retain responsibility for defining the boundaries and limits of our scholarly and creative work, we also actively seek opportunities to be transparent in articulating what we do and why.

In such articulation, we recognize the importance of being able to identify ourselves clearly and unambiguously. Too often, we realize, American Indian studies as a field of academic inquiry has failed to live up to its potential at least in part because of the presence of scholars who misrepresent themselves and their ties to the Native world. While we do not in any way want to suggest that only Native scholars can do good scholarship in Native studies, neither do we want to make light of the importance of scholars who work in this field being able to speak with clarity about who they are and what brings them to their scholarship and creative activity. Indeed, we hope that our partners will subject us to whatever level of scrutiny they find appropriate as we seek to build bridges between the academic world and Indigenous communities.

[Adopted by American Indian Studies faculty, September 2010]