In 1986, Rupert Costo, a member of the Cahuilla Tribe, endowed the first academic Chair in the world in the field of American Indian History. He and his wife, Jeanette, were long-time supporters of American Indian students at the University of California, Riverside, an institution they helped to establish. The Costos established the Chair to further the research of scholars who were dedicated to providing accurate, path-breaking, and community-based research about Native Americans. Eight scholars have held the position of Costo Chair, and in 2007, the University of California, Riverside, conducted an international search for a new Chair. The University interviewed five individuals and selected Clifford Trafzer as the Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs. Dean Stephen Cullenberg stated that he wanted the university to select a scholar dedicated to excellent research, quality teaching, and a proven record of service to American Indian people. He announced that Trafzer had all these qualities. Anthony Madrigal of the Cahuilla Tribe and the California Native American Heritage Commission also spoke, saying that Trafzer had worked closely with many Indian communities and was committed to working with and for Native Nations and Indian people. Trafzer's research focuses on many aspects of Native American history, including the interesection of American Indian medicine with Western medicine among the Indian people of Southern California. He has published several books and articles, including Native Universe: Voices of Indian America, which the Smithonian's National Museum of the American Indian published in 2004 as its inaugural book when the museum opened. At a reception in his honor at the university, Trafzer stated that the "Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs is a high honor and I am humbled to be chosen. But the Costo Chair is not about me. It is about us. We are a community of students, scholars, and staff members who are dedicated to enhancing the study of American Indian peoples, particularly the history, culture, and contemporary life of California's first people. We have a special obligation to the people of California, especially the Indian people of California, to work together through community-based research and other programs to enhance and advance the study of California Indians. This was the vision of the Costos and we must work together to expand and enlarge the vision."
“Sherman Institute: The American Indian Boarding School Experience”
The Rupert Costo Chair and
Dr. Troy Johnson
American Indian Activism:
Costo Library (4th Floor of Rivera Library)
Dr. Troy Johnson is internationally known for his scholarship in the field of Native American history. His work has centered on American Indian activism of the 1960s and 1970s. He is best known for his ground-breaking documentation of the 1969-1971 occupation of Alcatraz Island. Scholars around the world consider his research the seminal resource in this exciting genre. Dr. Johnson has published nineteen book and numerous scholarly articles. For many years he has served as Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies and Department of Anthropology at California State University, Long Beach.
Sponsored by the Rupert Costo Endowment and California Center for Native Nations