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JSIS student and FLAS fellow now a doctoral candidate

Headshot of Janessa Chinana, a woman with long dark hair swept to the left side. She wears a black shirt and a green beaded necklace.

January 19, 2024

In fall quarter 2023, Janessa Chinana, former F0reign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellow in Haida, passed her doctoral exams advancing to candidacy.

Janessa passed both her preliminary and general exams for the doctorate in International Education in fall quarter 2023. The committee members – Miranda Belarde-Lewis, Nadine Fabbi, Sven Hakkanson, and chair, Tony Lucero – were all very impressed by Janessa’s engagement with the complexities of Indigenous sovereignty and the nuances of Haida history. One of the highlights of the exams was hearing Janessa describe how Native resurgence in the Kaigani Haida communities could be observed in the way Haida people enter into relation with lands, waters, and other-than-human beings. The conversation also revealed the importance of visual culture and participatory photographic projects not only to one dissertation project but to supporting everyday forms of Haida governance. 

Janessa’s thesis, tentatively titled “Xáadlaa Ga Gwaayaay: Indigenous Border Nationhood and Governance Across Settler-State Borders,” will focus on governance of the two Haida communities in Canada and Alaska and the impact of the international border on the community cohesion.

Janessa is a former Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow in Haida from the Canadian Studies Center.