NCAIS Pre-Institute Digital Summer Seminar | Newberry

NCAIS Pre-Institute Digital Summer Seminar

Chicago Edgewater Indian Land Dancing Mural 

Collaborations and Contestations: Past, Present, and Future Transformations in Indigenous Material Culture, Art, and Performance
Monday, July 6, 2020Friday, July 31, 2020

This program will be held virtually.

Dr. Christine DeLucia (Williams College) & Dr. Katrina Phillips (Macalester College)
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
NCAIS Summer Institute

The Newberry has been closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19. To enable visitors to practice social distancing now recommended by both the Center for Disease Control and the Chicago Department of Public Health, we have decided to postpone the full Summer Institute program and have tentatively rescheduled it for July 5-30, 2021. Please visit for more information and for regular updates regarding Newberry operations.

In lieu of the in-person Institute, the McNickle Center will be hosting a digital Pre-Institute Seminar for accepted students this summer. Seminar participants will read materials related to the institute theme and meet virtually for group discussions.

This institute explores how Indigenous people, communities, and nations have navigated collaborations and contestations over Indigenous cultural objects, art, and performance, both historically and into the present and future. What happens when Native heritage objects, stories, forms of knowledge, and expression move through time and space, often well beyond their communities of origin? How and why have important Native items like baskets, wampum, textiles, and visual arts been “collected,” whether by community-based groups or institutions such as tribal museums, or by outsiders, including Euro-colonial museums–and with what consequences? What are the histories, presents, and futures of repatriation in Indigenous North America and beyond, especially in the wake of NAGPRA and in the midst of evolving digital practices of translation and replication?

Recent efforts among Native nations, tribal museums, community groups, and colonial institutions to “collaborate” and “consult” have shaped the dynamics and relationships attendant to these important and challenging transits. Yet these terms and concepts have often carried very different meanings in specific contexts. This institute grapples with how communities and scholars can engage in productive dialogues about meaning and memory, and recognize as well as transform relationships, systems of power, and other forms of interaction. Using a series of case studies, theoretical touchstones, and digital interactions with original material in Newberry and Chicago-area collections, it will immerse participants in these critical questions. While the institute readings range widely across media and disciplinary perspectives, it is specially focused on material, visual, and performative cultures, and the ways that museums, memorials, and public art settings have created contexts for meaning-making.

Each NCAIS institution is entitled to one slot in the summer institute, which will have a maximum of nineteen participants. The selection process of each member institution’s NCAIS Summer Institute participant is according to the individual program needs and existing protocols of the member institution. Please contact your NCAIS Faculty Liaison for more information. (

Participants receive a $300 stipend; the application deadline for this program has passed.

Institute Participants

Roxanne Beason, Oklahoma State University

Camille Callison, University of Manitoba

Aimée Carbaugh, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Glenys Ong Echavarri, University of Washington

Paige Figanbaum, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Thomas Kivi, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Samantha Maza, University of Chicago

Ryuichi Nakayama, University of New Mexico

Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha, University of Minnesota

Gilda Posada, Cornell University

Cordelia Rizzo, Northwestern University

Isabella Shey Robbins, Yale University

Julia Silverman, Harvard University

Christopher Thrasher, Penn State

John Truden, University of Oklahoma

Alexander Williams, University of Colorado-Boulder

Cost and Registration Information 

The Summer Institute is only available to graduate students in NCAIS-affiliated institutions