California Center for the Native Nations


Xóchitl C. Chávez

Dr. Xóchitl C. Chávez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology with an emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She is the first tenure track Chicanx Assistant Professor at UC Riverside and specializes in expressive culture and performance with a focus on Indigenous communities from Southern Mexico and transnational migration. She is currently focusing on studying second-generation Zapotec Brass bands in Los Angeles and their relationships with the communities of origin in Oaxaca, Mexico.  She is also currently writing a manuscript (tentatively titled) “The Guelaguetza: Performative Crossroads, Ethnicity, and Greater Oaxaca”.

Gerald Clarke


Professor Gerald Clarke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He received his MFA in studio arts with an emphasis in painting and sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. His artwork and teachings “examine issues related to contemporary Native American existence.” He currently has an art exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum titled Gerald Clarke: Falling Rock, and is a Pollitt Co-Chair for his work in the Indigenize UCR project.

Wallace Cleaves

Gabrielino/ Tongva Tribe

Dr. Wallace Cleaves is the Associate Director of the University Writing Programs and an Associate Professor of Teaching and is the Director of the California Center for Native Nations (CCNN). His areas of concentration include Composition, Medieval, Renaissance, and Native American Literature. Professor Cleaves is heavily involved with his tribe, having served on the Tribal Council, and is currently working on the development of a Land Trust for the tribe. He works with the First-Year Writing and the TA Development Program, focusing on a yearlong series of teaching practicum courses for new instructors in the writing program.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Allison Hedge Coke is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing who teaches for the Department of Creative Writing and the School of Medicine. Her work has been supported by many fellowships and residencies with many distinguished organizations. Her most recent projects are Along the Chaparral: Memorializing the Enshrined in collaboration with the Veterans Legacy Program and a full-length film about labor and eco-ethos.

Kimberly Guerrero

Kimberly Guerrero is an Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at UC Riverside. She is an actor, writer, and director who focuses on the misrepresentation and lack of representation of Native Americans in mainstream media. She is a founding member of The StyleHorse Collective which works with tribal communities to create compelling content including but not limited to documentaries.

Tamara C. Ho

Sino-Burmese American

Dr. Tamara C. Ho is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies and a Cooperating Faculty in Comparative Literature. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at UCLA. She specializes in transnational feminisms, critical race/ethnic studies, Southeast Asian diasporas, 20th century American Literature, Anglophone postcolonial studies, migration and religion.

Rebecca Monte Kugel

Ojibwe and Shawnee, French, Irish, German, Jewish, and Danish

Dr. Rebecca “Monte” Kugel is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. She received her Ph.D. in history at UCLA. Her research focuses are on the peoples of the western Great Lakes, in particular, Ojibwes and Native Women’s History. Her current project is a book on the “cultural constructions of race, kinship, and social difference among Great Lakes Native Peoples.”

Wesley Leonard

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Dr. Wesley Leonard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics at UC Berkeley. His research topics include Native American language endangerment, documentation, and reclamation, his area of focus, in particular, his tribal nation’s language, myaamia. He is “especially interested in building capacity for Native American languages in ways that support tribal sovereignty and survivance…”

Mark Minch-de Leon

Susanville Indian Rancheria

Dr. Mark Minch-de Leon is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies in the Department of English. He earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. His concentrations include Indigenous Studies, Rhetorical Theory, and Narrative and Visual Studies. His current project looks at the anticolonial, non-vitalist dimensions of California Indian Intellectual and cultural resurgence.

Jacqueline Shea Murphy

Dr. Jacqueline Shea Murphy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance. She received her Ph.D. in English at UC Berkeley. Her focus is critical dance studies and contemporary Indigenous dance. She is currently writing a book about “ways that contemporary Indigenous choreographers in the U.S., Canada, and Aotearoa are inhabiting Indigenous epistemologies”. She is also a Pollitt Co-Chair for her work on the Indigenize UCR project.

Hyejin Nah

Dr. Hyejin Nah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. She received her Ph.D. at New York University. She specializes in language ideologies and practices, language and/in media, indigeneity, sovereignty, social media, and Latin America. She is currently writing a manuscript that “examines urban Mapuche communicative and expressive repertoires across face-to-face and online interactions, exploring language’s unexpected roles in local pursuits of nationhood and sovereignty.”

Robert C. Perez

Lipan Apache

Dr. Robert C. Perez is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. He received his Ph.D. in history at UC Riverside. He focuses on American Indian History in California, the U.S. Southwest, Texas and Northern Mexico. His research includes archival documents from the 16th to 20th centuries in Spanish, French, and English, and “attempts to present history with Native people at the center.” He is interested in studying how modern nations (policies) are associated with those of the settler-colonial past (dating back to 500 years). His current work is a book titled (tentatively) “The Incomplete Conquest of Sonora: Native Survival and Colonialism, 1610-1776”. 

Gretchen Potter

Tonawanda Seneca

Gretchen Potter (she/her/hers) is the Tribal Liaison and the Coordinator of the California Center for Native Nations (CCNN). Gretchen holds a B.A. from Dartmouth and an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Minnesota and has spent her career working with Native American students and educators from pre-K-12th grade up through university levels.

Liz Przybylski

Dr. Liz Przybylski is an Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Her research topics include Indigenous hip-hop practices in Canada and the U.S, ethnomusicology, musicology, gender studies, and Indigenous studies. Her current work studies “how the sampling of heritage music in Indigenous hip hop contributes to dialogues about cultural change in urban areas”.

Michelle Raheja


Dr. Michelle Raheja is an Associate Professor in the Department of English. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her area of research in Native American Literature with a special interest in autobiography, film, critical race theory, and visual culture. She is currently co-editing two anthologies.

Jonathan Ritter

Dr. Jonathan Ritter is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music. He received his Ph.D. at UCLA. His research topics include Indigenous Music, Politics, and Memory in the Americas and has worked with Dakota/Lakota, Miskitu, and Quechua-speaking people of North, Central, and South America. He focuses on Indigenous and Afro-Hispanic musical cultures of Andean South America.

Frey Schiwy

Dr. Freya Schiwy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Culture Studies and also a collaborating faculty in the Department of Hispanic Studies. She received a Ph.D. in Latin-American literature and culture from Duke University. She specializes in Latin-American cultural and film studies and Indigenous film studies. She is currently working on research that “explores how collaborative and indigenous video art and activism in Chile and Mexico conceptualize and make apprehensible the desire for environmental justice in the context of what has been called anthropocene and capitalocene”. 

Clifford Trafzer

Wyandot Indian and German

Dr. Clifford Trafzer is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and the Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at UC Riverside. He received his Ph.D. in American History at Oklahoma State University. His area of research is Native American Social-Cultural History, the American West, Oral Traditions, and Public History. He has published several books.

Jason Weems

Dr. Jason Weems is an Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art. He received his Ph.D. in art history from Stanford University. His research topics include exploration and examination of art, sight, and technology in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and archaeological monuments of pre-contact North and South America.