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Dian Million profile for newsletter
Professor Dian Million - Chair, Department of American Indian Studies

Letter from the Chair


It is Spring and nearly summer! I write this with great hope that you are enjoying the increasingly sunny weather and our increasing prospects for seeing each other in person this summer and autumn. We have had some very difficult times and want to acknowledge that, but we also wish all some sunshine and prospects for joy now. While we spent our academic year online again, our American Indian Studies Department at the University of Washington still has plenty to celebrate.

First, I want to give a shout out to our amazing American Indian Studies graduating class of 2021. It is hard after getting to know these wonderful people to let them go, but we are happy to do so with their diplomas in hand. On June 11 our department will honor 10 graduates with a major in American Indian Studies. And in just as joyous news, we will award a cohort of graduate students with our first Graduate Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Look for a link on our website (coming soon) to see some of the wonderful research presentations that were presented in our first all day AIIS Research Symposium.

Again, for the first time since our esteemed Upper Skagit elder Vi Hilbert worked here at the UW, AIS will be the academic home of a full-time Lushootseed language teacher. While we have been able to offer Lushootseed classes intermittently in the past, we now have a full year of scaffolded classes in Southern Lushootseed plus some advanced research opportunities to work with the language. Tami is dreaming more ways to bring Southern Lushootseed to our curriculum in other classes as well. Join me in welcoming Tami Hohn, Puyallup, as our new Assistant Teaching Professor in Southern Lushootseed Language. Congratulations again Tami!

In that same spirit, our sister program, the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, has continued to help us bring an amazing array of Native Knowledge holders to our classrooms this year. Our thanks to CAIIS and the excellent support they continue to give to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous communities at UW and in our region. CAIIS was involved in so many important endeavors this year it is difficult to name them all here. Thank you CAIIS for continued work with community colleges to offer bridges from two-year degrees in American Indian and Indigenous Studies to four-year degrees. Also, thank you for providing opportunities to bolster AIIS scholarship across the campus, a fact that was well illustrated in the first CAIIS Indigenous Studies Symposium that occurred on May 21. As I mentioned above, we hope that a recording of these student presentations will be available soon.

And last, but not at all least, we have with your gracious help, raised the necessary funds to invest the Marvin Oliver Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Student Support. This fund is going to be a very important source of support for our AIS undergrad students. The outpouring of support you gave honored Marvin and the Oliver family, and we are working hard now to present this aid to students this coming Autumn of 2021. Marvin was not only one of our founding faculty, but he was also the heart of so much that is American Indian Studies, the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, and AIAN presence here on our campus. Building this fund remains one our priorities, so if you didn’t get a chance to honor this dream, please do so in whatever way you can: Marvin Oliver Fund

Want to show your AIS Husky pride? Here's the link to AIS swag, another way to celebrate your colors! Check our caps and toques with our 50 Year honoring insignia! This would be a great time for our alumnae to update your information with Kai Wise ( since we are very much interested in how all of you are doing and are looking into ways to honor you this year.

With much good thoughts to you all,

Dian Million, (Tanana), Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of American Indian Studies
University of Washington
Padelford C-514, Box 354305
Seattle, WA 98195
Chair's Letter Autumn 2020
Chair's Letter Spring 2020

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