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New faculty lines in Salish Sea Studies thanks to Title VI funding

September 18, 2020

The Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University (WWU) welcomes two new faculty members as assistant professors of Comparative Indigenous Studies: Mary ‘Tuti’ Baker and James Miller. These positions were made possible through the successful U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant that is shared with our Canadian Studies Center, and through the WWU Office of the Provost. Both new faculty members will have joint appointments in Canadian-American Studies and another department. They will be teaching and developing curriculum in both Canadian-American Studies and Salish Sea Studies as well as conducting research and engaging in Indigenous community building.

Mary ‘Tuti’ Baker is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Canadian-American Studies and Fairhaven College. A Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar, she earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with specializations in Indigenous Politics and Futures Studies. Her work examines the relationship between Kanaka Maoli values and practice and the politics of decolonization. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled “The Land Is in Us: Embodied Aloha ‘Āina Enacting Indigenous Futures” which is a critical examination of aloha ʻāina as an Indigenous ideology. She is interested in the political articulations across various Indigenous communities as well as non-indigenous social justice movements. Her most recent publication is a chapter in The Routledge Handbook on Postcolonial Politics entitled “Waiwai (Abundance) and Indigenous Futures” in which she tells the story of two communities in Hawai’i that are a part of a global network of native spaces whose diverse practices coalesce around the organizing principles of anarcha-indigenism, a world-view grounded in indigenous land-based practice and knowledge systems and anarchist principles of fluid leadership and horizontal power structures.

James Miller is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Indigenous Studies with a joint appointment in Canadian-American Studies and the Huxley College of the Environment. A Kanaka Maoli scholar, architect, and urbanist, James runs a design lab, ’Ike Honua, centering Indigenous knowledge in building resilient communities through architectural and planning frameworks. Under the lens of climate change adaptation, James Miller’s research investigates the role of Indigenous Design Knowledge in the creation of culturally supportive environments through climate migration. Currently, James is investigating the transboundary placemaking of Indigenous communities from the Marshall Islands and the intersection of Oceanic Indigenous knowledge in building community resilience. Miller’s scholarship provides a space for Indigenous knowledge systems tied to the production of the built-environment to be recognized within fields dominated by western-centric world views. He holds a PhD in Sustainable Architecture from the University of Oregon with specializations in cultural sustainability and Indigenous design knowledge.

The Canadian Studies Center in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (Jackson School) at the University of Washington is a U.S. Department of Education designated National Resource Center on Canada (NRC). It is one of six NRCs in the Jackson School. Together with the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, it forms the Pacific Northwest NRC on Canada—one of just two NRCs on Canada in the nation. The NRC is funded by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant administered by the International and Foreign Language Education office in the Office of Postsecondary Education.