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Two AIS students honored as Dean's Medalists

Submitted by Elissa Washuta on June 22, 2016 - 10:58am

Jennifer SmithJennifer Smith and Dustin Abrahamson were honored this month as Dean's Medalists. Smith, majoring in History and CHID with a minor in AIS, received the Dean's Medal in the Humanities, while Abrahamson, majoring in History and American Ethnic Studies with a minor in AIS, received the Dean's Medal in the Social Sciences.

In an interview with A&S Perspectives, Smith spoke about her research: "I am particularly interested in the complex and diverse ways that Indigenous communities resist colonial hegemony — both in the past and present — and through my research found that the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama effectively used horses as a tool of resistance that allowed them to retain access to meaningful lands and resources during the first half of the twentieth century."

Dustin AbrahamsonAbrahamson also shared the topic of his honors thesis in an A&S Perspectives interview: "The topic is American Indian activism at the University of Washington and what it means to indigenize academia. The paper covers more than four decades, from the storming of President Odegaard's office by the Black Student Union to the creation of American Indian Studies and the Intellectual House. It's about how, from 1968 to 2015, American Indian students, faculty, and community members have simultaneously engaged with and resisted the University of Washington's institutional structure in order to create Indigenous space within higher education."