Professor Mishuana Goeman awarded UC’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives!

Congratulations to Professor Mishuana Goeman who was awarded a UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives grant from the University of Califorinia, Office of the President! The research project, Centering Tribal Stories of Cultural Preservation in Difficult Times, was awarded for a 3-year grant along with Co-PIs from the UC Davis, UC Riverside, and UC San Diego. The UCLA American Indian Studies Center will be a proud partner and administrator of the grant.

Abstract: Cultural heritage protection is of the utmost urgency for many UC students and their communities across California because their irreplaceable sites and natural environments face increasing impacts from development and climate change. UC researchers have led specific conversations around these issues in environmental science, biology, ethnography, and archaeology, but the millennia of expertise within Indigenous Californian communities who live reciprocally with these lands is often overlooked. Indigenous peoples’ traditions and continued stewardship of the land allows for an intimate understanding of the effects of climate and environmental change throughout time, as a longitudinal study which has run for over 10,000 years. Only through interdisciplinary conversations can we highlight the knowledge of California Native communities in order to effectively understand the full scope of potential impacts of climate change and development on cultural heritage. Training UC students to address these issues requires engaging with Indigenous cultural heritage management experts around California. A team of UC professors who have been engaged in community based research with Indigenous people throughout California will work together to create a holistic teaching approach on the interdisciplinary topic of cultural heritage protection.

UCLA’s Carrying Our Ancestors Home, an Indigenous community based repatriation education project, will host 8-10 modules, culminating in an online class covering interdisciplinary approaches to cultural heritage protection. The modules will include four elements each: an original video or podcast co-created with Indigenous communities, primary resources gathered from University archives, secondary sources, and a classroom activity tying the components together. Topics include land and homeland introductions, land rematriation, repatriation of ancestors, healing from historic trauma through heritage protection and the arts, protection of Indigenous genetic data resources, and climate change’s impact on cultural heritage sites and practices. The modules will be available for UC professors and the public through the COAH’s Mukurtu CMS website, and therefore have a broader impact within the UC and across California. Providing a multidisciplinary understanding of the issues will lead to better dialogues and innovative solutions.