The Institute of American Indian Research


The Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) promotes Native and Indigenous education, research, and service at UNM. Each academic year, we host and support many events to foster the study of Indigenous nation-building, community organizing, and Indigenous peoples.

In 2022, IFAIR launched the Luci Tapahonso Distinguished Indigenous Speaker Series. Professor Emeritus Luci Tapahonso (Diné) began her literary career in the English Department at the University of New Mexico. Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and narratives about Diné life and culture, Tapahonso has been a role model and inspiration to countless Diné and Indigenous students. Given Tapahonso’s significant impact to the Navajo Nation and UNM, it is only fitting that we named our new speaker series in her honor.

IFAIR invited Indigenous lawyer and advocate Sarah Deer (Muscogee/Creek Nation) to kick off the 1st Annual Luci Tapahonso Distinguished Indigenous Speaker Series. Deer’s presentation, “The Reckoning: Native Crime Victims and the Future of Tribal Communities,” centered on Native survivor narratives and explored what survivors need and expect in the aftermath of trauma. This event, which kicked off Native American Heritage Month, was well attended.  We were pleased with the large number of UNM faculty, students, and staff that turned out to honor two Indigenous women who have made their radiance known to their tribal nations and communities.

As part of this new annual speaker series, IFAIR’s Board will continue to bring accomplished Indigenous scholars and researchers to the University of New Mexico to share their perspectives on Indigenous issues.  Stay tuned for announcements about next year’s speaker!

In addition to the Luci Tapahonso Distinguished Indigenous Speaker Series, IFAIR also invited several other Indigenous leaders to speak to the UNM community and general public about issues affecting Indigenous people and communities including: Davis Filfred (Diné), Steve Darden (Diné), Sarah Hernandez (Lakota), and Taté Walker (Lakota), who each spoke on pressing issues related to Native sovereignty and self-determination.

Please continue to check our website for upcoming events and collaborations with nearby Indigenous nations and communities.


Sarah Hernandez, PhD

Director of the Institute for American Indian Research

Upcoming Events

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