The College of Arts & Sciences Blog

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 2)

Orienting New Colleagues

Summer Fellows Naghme Morlock & Leslie Stamoolis offer new ways to onboard incoming faculty

Sara Ahmed’s book, Complaint!

This summer we have had the privilege of being CAS Dean’s fellows—an experience that we found immensely valuable and meaningful. As part of this fellowship, which was co-funded by dean and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we had the opportunity to work on onboarding-related efforts for incoming faculty (including those who joined us during the earlier pandemic years), read and discuss “Complaint!” by Sara Ahmed (selected by us as a group) with Dean Caño and the other summer Fellow, Melissa Click, gain a deeper insight into the day-to-day work of our dean, and to have enriching conversations with others around campus (including administrators, staff, and faculty).

When we applied for the Fellowship we were motivated to continue and extend the work we were already involved in as part of the IDEAS in Action Council. Even more so, we both feel extremely passionate about the idea that a sense of belonging and community is critically important for any member of our campus community to thrive. Therefore, our goal at the start of this summer was to begin the development of a more long-term onboarding program for our new faculty. We recognized early on that the development and implementation of a longer-term program would require more lead time, so we shifted to focusing on the initial arrival on campus for this year. Our new goal is to build on what we did this year in the years to come to develop a robust onboarding program for the College (which could be replicated in the other schools throughout Gonzaga).

Incoming Faculty Orientation

As part of this work, we planned a fall CAS orientation session with the assistance of the Dean’s office.  We included a panel to share and discuss with our newer colleagues some things we wish we had known when we first began working at Gonzaga. The goal was to have an honest and frank conversation about the possibilities and also potential challenges and how to navigate the first couple of years in a way that allows them to build community, find belonging and connection, and find their own authentic resonance with the university mission on their journey. The panel turned into a wonderful discussion and several attendees expressed how valuable they found the conversation.

New faculty after orientation.

In addition to the orientation meeting, we also developed a resource list to be shared online that contains suggestions and ideas for ways to connect in the broader off-campus community but also includes ideas for recreational activities and places to explore in Spokane. Belonging and community mean much more than just restaurants and organizations; at the same time, many of our new colleagues ask for those recommendations, so we included them. Further, some of these places can be spaces to connect with others who share similar interests or backgrounds.

Throughout the entire summer, during regular meetings with the Faculty Fellows and Dean Caño, we were able to discuss and learn about the work of our dean, observe what leadership with a commitment to DEI looks like, and have an opportunity to connect and get to know each other more. Getting to engage in reflective discussions with each other outside of the regular academic year was exciting, refreshing, and inspiring. So often during the intensity of the school year, there is not the space or time to do this deeper reflective work and it added a meaningful experience to being a Fellow this summer.

Naghme Morlock is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Criminology whose specialty areas are Mass Trauma, Gender, & Human Rights.

Leslie Stamoolis is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Dance and the Theatre Program Director.

Introducing Fulbright Scholar Dr. Maico Demi Aperocho

Dr. Maico Demi Aperocho

Getting to Know Dr. Maico Demi Aperocho

The College of Arts & Sciences‘ Modern Language & Literature is proud to welcome to its department Fulbright Visiting Scholar Dr. Maico Demi Aperocho. Dr. Aperocho is visiting Gonzaga from the Philippines and will teach Filipino 101 and 102. Maico will also offer a public lecture this month entitled, “Mental Health and Language Matters: The case of Philippine Microstructure“.

We sat down with Dr. Aperocho to learn a little more about his presence at GU and his upcoming lecture.

Can you tell us a little more about your lecture on September 29th and why you find it important to discuss this subject matter at GU?

Aperocho: The lecture will be based on my dissertation on depressive language in the virtual sphere in the Philippine context. At Gonzaga, we highly value cura personalis, which means that we also give attention to everyone’s mental health. This lecture will shed light on the linguistic features of the depressive language, how language is used by people living with mental health conditions, and what ideologies this microstructure has within a vulnerable community heavily stigmatized in Philippine communities. Everyone in the GU community can appreciate more how important language is in mental health. 

What are you most looking forward to during your time at Gonzaga?

I only have around nine months of academic and professional stay at GU, so I just want to make connections and learn from people, and at the same time, become a Filipino ambassador of language and culture. I am excited also to share what little knowledge I have in my field and advance the causes I believe in, such as language and mental health, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Mental Health and Language Matters: The case of Philippine Microstructure Public Lecture

Description: When it comes to mental health issues, anyone can become vulnerable. This talk will focus on the depressive language used by Filipinos living in the microstructure, the stigmatized, voiceless, powerless, unsafe, and misunderstood; by delving into their language use, language experiences, and ideological representations.

September 29, 4:10pm in the Center for Global Engagement

This all-university presentation is in English, and all are welcome.

Formalizing a Faculty Support Network in CAS

This fall we welcome many new Arts and Sciences faculty to the Gonzaga campus. As someone who chaired two search committees (for four new colleagues) in the academic year 2021-2022, I have been thinking a lot about how to help our new colleagues feel welcome at Gonzaga. While GU does a great job with new faculty orientation and the New Faculty Learning Community, I think it is important for Gonzaga to develop a formal faculty mentoring program.

What faculty mentoring provides

Positive impacts of faculty mentoring include improved retention of high-quality, diverse faculty and students; a more supportive faculty community; increased transparency and clarity about reappointment, tenure, and promotion; investment in and development of future leaders; and the sharing of resources. A strong mentorship program can also help with recruitment and improve university reputations in ways that attract new faculty members and students. Faculty mentoring is all the more important now because, as Dean Annmarie Caño has stressed, we are living through challenging times shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and a number of other crises “including white supremacy, heterosexism and cis-sexism, and violence against many marginalized communities — that have harmed our academic institutions and the people we serve.” Misra, Kanalee and Mickey assert that faculty mentoring is a crucial component of diversity, equity, and inclusion and suggest that “[e]ffective mentoring plays a crucial role in ensuring that no one falls through the cracks, uncertain how to strategize and move their careers forward.” A faculty mentoring program will promote inclusivity, collaboration, and engagement, all of which are important factors for all faculty to feel part of the Gonzaga community.

Serving as a mentor has been a rewarding part of my academic life, and as a first-generation student who had little access to mentors in the early part of my career, I strongly believe that everyone should have support as their story unfolds at Gonzaga. This belief led me to apply to be a “Faculty Fellow” in the College of Arts and Sciences this summer to develop a faculty mentoring program. As part of my fellowship, which was co-funded by Gonzaga’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I learned about how to design a faculty mentorship program by participating in a 5-week “bootcamp” with Academic Impressions, an organization that provides training and development for higher education leaders.

Opportunities for Gonzaga

Given Gonzaga’s Jesuit, humanistic mission and its focus on cura personalis and accompaniment, it is a surprise that GU has not had a formal mentor program. However, in the listening sessions she held with early career faculty and chairs, Spring 2022 CAS Faculty Fellow Dr. Shalon Parker found that there are pockets of mentoring happening in the College. Extending this work to support all new faculty across CAS engages Ignatian philosophy and aligns nicely with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Vision 2024, focusing particularly on one goal: “Build on our current strengths and develop new ones through careful stewardship of our human and material resources.”

I am excited that the pilot faculty mentoring program I designed in consultation with the CAS Dean’s Office and GU’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is launching this fall. Its goals include:

  • Cultivating and advancing all faculty members in teaching, research, and service activities, in line with institutional and departmental goals.  
  • Offering all faculty opportunities to connect and collaborate across the College, outside of their academic departments.
  • Providing all faculty members with professional and social networking opportunities that foster inclusion between diverse faculty members and disciplines. 

The CAS faculty mentoring pilot program follows a group mentoring model. This model places new faculty together with mid-career and senior faculty to meet at least once a month, build their campus networks and share resources. We are calling these mentoring groups “squads.” The squads are intentionally designed to connect faculty across departmental lines and offer opportunities to be in regular contact with established and well-networked faculty. We’re also thinking about the mentorship needs of non-tenure track, mid-career, and senior faculty, and plan to offer networking opportunities for these faculty members so they too can receive support for issues that matter to them. CAS’s pilot mentoring program will run the entire 2022-2023 academic year with regular check-ins with the squads to make sure that the squads are running smoothly and to provide any resources they may need. Our goal is for this program to become a regular CAS feature, supporting faculty and strengthening the CAS community.

Trained in the field of communication with experience in media studies, cultural studies, and feminist scholarship, Melissa A. Click, Ph.D. employs a critical perspective in her scholarship to focus on questions of power and politics, media representations, and intersectional identities through examinations of media audiences and digital media cultures.

College of Arts & Sciences Welcomes New Faculty Cohort

The College of Arts & Sciences is proud to welcome 14 new tenure track and 13 lecturer faculty this Fall semester. This year’s cohort represents 14 different departments, including Political Science (2), Communication Studies (4), Religious Studies (3), Environmental Studies & Sciences (1), Philosophy (4), Biology (3), English (3), Music (1), History (1), Women & Gender Studies (1), International Studies (1), Mathematics (1), Psychology (1), and Theatre & Dance (1). In addition to its size, this year’s cohort includes a diverse array of expertise and identities and is likely the most diverse cohort integrated into the College. From Dean Caño, 

The incoming class of faculty are a stellar cohort, hailing from many different parts of the world and representing a diverse array of disciplinary knowledge, skills, and life experiences. Despite their differences, they all have one thing in common: an excitement to learn from and contribute to the Gonzaga community. I can’t wait for everyone to meet their new colleagues over the course of the year.

Tenure-Track Faculty

Jenaro Alberto Abraham

Department: Political Science

Expertise: Latin American and Caribbean Politics

Fun Fact: I like playing soccer and listening to salsa.

Charles Athanasopoulos

Department: Communication Studies

Expertise: Communication Studies; the Black Radical Tradition; Cultural Studies; Visual Rhetoric

Fun Fact: This is my first time living on the west coast (originally from Queens, NY).

Richard “Chip” Callahan

Department: Religious Studies

Expertise: Religion in American culture; Religion and labor history; Method and theory in the study of religion

Fun Fact: I’ve always been an ocean-lover, living on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but I am now in love with Spokane and I love the mountains, the lakes, and kayaking on the Spokane River. I’m a fan of bluegrass music, and lately, I can’t hear enough of Billy Strings’s music.

Nigel D’Souza

Department: Environmental Studies & Sciences and Biology

Expertise: Microbial Ecology

Fun Fact: I stress out microbes for a living. I have lived in 7 states across the US in the last 15 years.

Jeremiah Favara

Department: Communication Studies

Expertise: Gender and feminism, sexuality and queer theory, intersectionality, and militarization and media

Fun Fact: I’ve lived in 7 states and 5 countries.

Kendall Fisher

Department: Philosophy

Expertise: Medieval Philosophy

Fun Fact: I love sewing, especially from vintage patterns!

Jens Hegg

Department: Biology

Expertise: Aquatic Ecology

Fun Fact: I enjoy performing Americana, blues, and folk on guitar. Catch me at the Palouse Music Festival at the end of July in my hometown of Palouse, WA.

Sarah James

Department: Political Science

Expertise: American politics and social policy

Fun Fact: Before going to graduate school, I was a high school principal.

Miranda McLeod

Department: English

Expertise: Creative Writing, Composition, English Literature

Fun Fact: I’m a new gardener and would love to get to know people who have experience growing in the area. Please invite me to a seed swap!

Sarah Porter

Department: Religious Studies

Expertise: Byzantine Studies

Fun Fact: I lost my 7th-grade spelling bee on “springbok.”

Darian Spearman

Department: Philosophy

Expertise: Africana Philosophy

Fun Fact: I’ve lived in many places around the country, but I am happy to be returning home!

Meg Stohlmann

Department: Music

Expertise: Choral music and education

Fun Fact: I jumped out of a plane 5 times (when I was in the Air Force in another life) and earned my jump wings :).

Corinne Sugino

Department: Communication Studies

Expertise: Communication Studies, Asian American rhetoric, cultural studies, post-racialism

Fun Fact: I enjoy hiking and am excited to explore the surrounding area/nearby national parks!

Joseph Vignone

Department: History

Expertise: Medieval Islamic science, religion, and literature

Fun Fact: I’m developing a course on historical video games as a form of public history, and am looking for collaborators!


Josh Anthony

Department: English

Expertise: Creative Writing

Fun Fact: I recently got into disc golf.

Kevin Brown

Department: Religious Studies

Expertise: Systematic Theology (ecclesiology, ecumenism, Christology, liberation theologies, hermeneutics, spirituality, pneumatology, fundamental theology, Second Vatican Council)

Fun Fact: I am a life-long, die-hard Dodgers fan. My dad’s family happened to move from New Jersey to California the same year the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to LA, so the roots of the fandom go back several generations.

Krista Kubiak Crotty

Department: Psychology

Fun Fact: I love the mountains, hope to see you on the slopes this winter!

Avery Dame-Griff

Department: Women’s & Gender Studies

Expertise: How the Internet transformed transgender political organizing from the 1980s to the contemporary moment.

Fun Fact: I’m distantly related to Milton S. Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s Chocolate.

Albana Dwonch

Department: International Studies

Expertise: International Studies. Modern Middle East, Networked Social Movements

Fun Fact: I am an avid reader of literary fiction, and in my free time, I translate novels from English into my native language. It is like linguistic therapy for me and it keeps me connected to my language and my culture, Albanian.

Blake Edwards

Department: Theatre & Dance

Expertise: Theatre arts

Fun Fact: A long time ago in LA, I was in a play with Meryl Streep’s son. She came to see the show. Afterward, she congratulated me and said I was a very good actor. I told her that she was also proficient.

Hussein El Ebiary

Department: Biology

Expertise: Microbiology

Fun Fact: I played college basketball for 4 years. I’m an athletic nerd!

Anthony Fisher

Department: Philosophy

Andrei Kochegarov

Department: Biology

Expertise: Microbiology

Ryan McWilliams

Department: English

Expertise: American Literature

Fun Fact: My grandfather taught at Gonzaga, but my first time setting foot on Gonzaga’s campus was for summer basketball camp.

Kelvin Rivera-Lopez

Department: Mathematics

Chandler D. Rogers

Department: Philosophy

Expertise: Environmental Philosophy, 19th Century Philosophy

Tao Zhang

Department: Communication Studies

Expertise: Intercultural Communication, Critical Communication Pedagogy

Fun Fact: Swimming and hiking are my favorite hobbies after work. I also love eating anything potato, for which I earned the nickname Lady Potato.

Where Did the Summer Go?

Many of us have been asking this question as we begin the month of August. I know I am! After the semester ended, the dean’s office continued to hum with activity through June and into July. I noticed my own energy flagging by the time Independence Day rolled around. By the time mid-July hit, I was ready for our family vacation to the Oregon coast. The sand and sun and roar of the Pacific was re-energizing, but what I really loved was the action of the tides. At low tide, we were able to see sea stars, anemones, sponge, and mussels. We even saw perceves – goose-neck barnacles here, but in Spain, my uncles would scale the cliffs to chisel these delicacies off the rocks and sell them for a good price at market! At high tide, the sea once again blanketed, protected, and nourished its creatures.

Close shot of goose necked barnacles found in the Oregon coast.
Goose necked barnacles

At one particularly low tide, a community group called Circles in the Sand, drew an intricate labyrinth into the sand and invited us all to walk it with love. If you have walked labyrinths before, you know it can be a meditative experience with many twists and turns that offer different perspectives. Walking a labyrinth you know will be washed away in a few hours adds another dimension: This path that I walk will not be here later, let me savor this experience! When I was training as a spiritual director, the Jesuit in charge emphasized how important it is to savor consolations. St. Ignatius of Loyola indeed pointed out that consolations—feelings of greater faith, hope, and love—must be recognized, savored, and stored up, especially for those times when we experience desolation and fatigue.

Intricate labyrinth to be washed away by the ocean, but temporarily enjoyed by visitors to the Oregon coast.
Labyrinth created by Circles in the Sand

The summer felt too short but I will be taking my vacation experiences, and all the smaller experiences of consolation, with me into the Fall. What consolations will you savor as you enter the new academic year?

Faith that does justice

“Being a disciple of Jesus is taking up the battle against evil. It is more than avoiding sin. It is helping to create a new world.”

Fr. George M. Smiga, STD (From Give us This Day, March 2022)

I began writing today’s blog on Ash Wednesday, the day in the Christian liturgical calendar that marks the beginning of the reflective and penitential season of Lent. As a family, we’ve been discussing how we want to honor this season. When I was a child, it was the custom to give something up. For me, it was usually chocolate, which was HARD! As an adult, especially after I started participating in Jesuit retreats, my practice developed into adding something to rather than subtracting from my daily routine. Over the last few years, my practice shifted again, with a focus on ways to do justice in the world, including at work.

Let me share a recent key shift in my perspective. In 2016, I was a parishioner at a suburban Detroit Catholic parish. It was near our home and a friendly place. As racist and xenophobic rhetoric in the public sphere increased, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the homilies preached by the pastor. They were not “wrong” but they always focused on personal sin and salvation, personal piety. Not once did he talk about the world around us, our local communities, or the moral imperative of a faith in service of others. I had noticed this pattern before but it created a strong dissonance in my spirit that year that moved me to search for a different worship community. I started attending a Jesuit parish in the city and later became a parishioner there. What a difference! The pastors did not neglect personal holiness but linked it directly to our life in community with others. They talked about our responsibility to see Jesus in others and to live out our faith in concrete ways. Faith and justice were naturally intertwined. As a community, the parish really took to heart St. Ignatius of Loyola’s command to “Go and set the world on fire!”

This Lent, I can’t help but think about what this means for our Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic educational mission and practice at Gonzaga. We can focus on what we as individuals do in the classroom, or how our disciplines have always been taught. In some ways, this is like that sole focus on personal piety that does not attend to the cries of the poor (in this case, our students or the wider world). Alternatively, we can look around and really investigate (interrogate!) what and how we teach. No matter your religious or spiritual tradition (I recognize that people can be atheists and still spiritual), are you focused only on yourself, or do you enact a belief system that does justice, in service of your students? If we stick to our old way of doing things, we may miss opportunities to connect with students in a new way that may also change us for the better.

To be clear, personal piety is not a bad thing. Striving to be in a deeper relationship with Divine Majesty, however you define it, is healthy. It’s when we neglect the call to service and just or right action, that I think we’ve missed something. That service can look different for different people at different times of their lives. This Lent might be a great time to consider how your faith or belief system can be translated into justice for our students and colleagues.

Office of Mission Integration Lenten Resources:

Information on what it means to have a faith that does justice in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition:

Fundraising or Fun-raising?

#ZagsGiveDay is coming up March 3, 2022, and I’m excited about it.


Because it gives us another chance to share the wonderful work you are doing with the world!

Since joining Gonzaga, I’ve been listening to learn what you need to be successful, whether it’s in your discipline or career stage. Some of these needs require financial resources that cannot be satisfied from the College operational budget, most of which is used for the salaries and benefits of over 300 people. This is not unique to Gonzaga and is often why deans are expected to be fundraisers.

I know some people back away from leadership roles because they perceive fundraising to be unpleasant, but I enjoy it because it taps into my love of serving as a “matchmaker.” I find it personally fulfilling to connect people with shared interests and watch what they achieve together. In this case, it’s matching people who have resources to people who have great ideas. One visible way I do this is through social media (take a look at how I use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and it is very much about elevating the College and our shared vision, even when I post personal things). I also work behind the scenes with University Advancement to align potential donors’ desires or interests with the needs of a department, project, or person. We have recently been blessed with sizeable gifts to several departments like Political Science, Mathematics, and Biology. More are in process. These gifts will help departments do things they always wished they could do like provide summer stipends to faculty-student teams, host visiting speaker series, and more. I’m also working on broader College fundraising to show how gifts help us recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff through startup funds and mini-grants, as well as support our student groups such as Model UN, Ethics Bowl, Debate Team, SACNAS, choirs, and other performing arts councils, and more. This is why fundraising is more like fun-raising to me. Each gift makes it possible to do something we couldn’t do before and brings more people into our collective work. Zags Give Day is a fun and meaningful Zag-sourcing (think, crowdsourcing) event to support your work.

Choir members sing for “Hold Fast to Dreams: A Social Justice Concert for Resilience, Remembrance and Responsibility.” Photo by Isabella Stout

If you would like to join in this effort, consider following the College on social media and re-sharing our #ZagsGiveDay posts on Thursday, March 3, 2022. We’re focusing on the CAS Dean’s Excellence Fund to support faculty, staff, and student work as described above.

Twitter: @GonzagaCAS

Instagram: @GonzagaCAS

Facebook: Gonzaga University – College of Arts and Sciences

Go Zags!

Low visibility

I don’t know about you but the “ice fog” we’ve been experiencing in Spokane is fascinating to me. It can be treacherous, coating the roads with a thin layer of ice, and it can be beautiful, creating frost-flocked landscapes. Fog is also a great metaphor for how we’re navigating through this phase of the pandemic. We’re trying to make our way on paths that were once familiar but now obscured. We’re not sure when it will lift or what’s ahead.

I am reflecting on this as we head into the third week of the Spring 2022 semester, with the omicron variant tearing through communities. Many of you are frustrated and disappointed about the no-win situation of wanting to provide a quality educational experience to your students while also staying safe. And there seems to be no end in sight. Our path is obscured by uncertainty.

Yet, if I can share one thing, it’s to consider who is with you on this foggy journey. It might be the loved ones or friends you live with, your pets, your colleagues, your students, or others who are far away but close in spirit. In addition to my family and friends, I can’t think of better company right now than faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences. I have seen how you’ve creatively pulled together to create community in your remote and in-person classrooms, support and encourage each other, and take care of yourselves. It’s truly amazing! For my part, I will continue to work to support what you love to do at Gonzaga, no matter the weather. Stay tuned for future blog posts that will share some of the bright spots in this work.

Replenishing the tank

This past weekend, I was able to experience my very first Fall Family Weekend. OK, so I missed Kraziness in the Kennel, but I did enjoy seeing the fruits of faculty and student labor and learning more about what excites and animates our students. What I experienced gave me a much-needed jolt of inspiration and energy when I was beginning to feel a bit stretched. From my conversations with faculty and staff, I don’t think I’m alone in finding October both exhilarating and exhausting.

Woman with mask and garland on her head, holding book and speaking into microphone.
Amy Pistone kicks off the 12+ hour reading of Homer’s Odyssey

My weekend started with attending the Homerathon, billed as the “most epic tradition at Gonzaga University.” I didn’t stay for the entire 12+ hour epic reading of Homer’s The Odyssey, but I did stop in with my 10-year old sidekick, who was off from school that day. It was so inspiring that he committed to reading a little bit next year if someone could help him with the Greek pronunciations (and wear some cool ancient Greekwear). Classics for the win!

Showcasing Undergraduate Research

Saturday, I visited several College of Arts and Sciences students at their posters, during the Undergraduate Student Research Showcase, which represented the culmination of their scholarly and creative work in their majors. I learned about patterns of racial segregation in the Midwest, the representation of political and cultural themes in Milton’s Paradise Lost (which still resonate today), the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults living in assisted living facilities, music and dance as a manifestation of the varieties of the immigration experience. I also learned more about neofascist behavior in social media networks, intravenous drug use patterns among incarcerated people, algorithms to solve equations related to chemical energy more efficiently, and behavioral signaling and competition in insects.

Poster showcasing student research in background as female student explains her work to another woman.
Cintia Murillo shares her research at the Undergraduate Student Research Showcase

But what was truly inspiring was how all of these students were able to share their knowledge and passion for their topics. As a long-time mentor of doctoral students, I had to keep checking myself: “These are undergraduate students!” I enjoyed hearing what they hope to do next. Among this group of students are future K-12 teachers and professors, doctors, attorneys, public servants, researchers, and therapists. And to see family members’ beaming with pride about their students’ work was a treat.

Music makes the soul

Lights shine above a group of choral students as they sing at a concert. Piano and choral director in foreground.
We’ll All Rise Together led by Dr. Amy Porter and Dr. Jadrian Tarver

Later in the evening, I attended the Gonzaga University Choirs concert We’ll All Rise Together, led by our amazing Department of Music faculty, Dr. Amy Porter and Dr. Jadrian Tarver. How uplifting it was to enjoy the voices of our students, and after only about six weeks of practice! Compositions varied from traditional to contemporary and included African-American spirituals and Spanish choral pieces, showcasing that choral and musical excellence requires diversity. I hope the rest of the audience was uplifted and transformed by what they experienced. I can’t wait to see what our talented conductors and students bring to us next!

Fall Family Weekend is not just for students and families. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, October is often when we begin to feel depleted, but Fall Family Weekend revived my sense of wonder and instilled new hope even as we still move through this pandemic. And looking even farther into the future, I know we’re going to be OK because we’re launching thoughtful, compassionate, and curious students into the world.

Learn more about the College here and here.

Celebration of Whistalks Way and Warrior Women

On August 20th, Toni Lodge (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), CEO of the Native Project, and Margo Hill (Spokane), Associate Professor of Urban and Tribal Planning at EWU, co-hosted an event celebrating the recently renamed Whistalks Way.

The event also celebrated the woman who inspired the name, Whist-alks, a Spokane woman, warrior, and wife of Yakama sub-chief Qualchan. She fought in Plateau War battles alongside her husband and, upon his hanging at the hands of Colonel George Wright, rode into Wright’s camp and threw her spear into the ground in front of him. Her defiant challenge asserted that Plateau Peoples would not be defeated and her courage made the U.S. Army see Plateau women. Whist-alks personified Plateau women’s commitment to community, culture, family, and homelands.

A certificate of appreciation and a scarf were offered during the ceremony. To the right, black gloves featuring the author’s grandmother’s beadwork.

Ms. Lodge and Professor Hill, a Gonzaga Law School alumna, joined with other leaders in the community to identify contemporary women who inherited the legacy of not only Whist-alks but of generations of grandmothers. More than 70 Native women and allies from fields including health care, education, law, Indigenous language preservation, community organizing and activism, and more were honored as Warrior Women. I am humbled and grateful to be among them, and proud to see Gonzaga recognized for the contributions of Wendy Thompson (Salish Kootenai), Director of Tribal Relations, and Rachelle Strawther, Director of Leadership Training and Development.

People have asked what specific action or accomplishment garnered recognition, but there is no single reason, no formula. While our names were read individually, in that setting we stood side-by-side as part of the whole. We each serve our communities in our own ways, and we do so as people raised with Native American cultural and kinship practices. We are responsible to this place and each other.

Centering Native-based Knowledge

My academic work is one way I contribute to the Plateau and my communities. This year marks the ninth year of the Native American Studies (NTAS) program, a minor established to embed Native content in the curriculum and to reinforce Gonzaga’s responsibility to place and community. Faculty who teach Native American Studies invite Native knowledge holders into classrooms and campus events because we want this campus to hear Native people speak for themselves and center Native-held knowledge. Approximately 40 guest speakers from the region and 20 speakers from Indian Country have shared our campus spaces, participating in conversations about tribal sovereignty, Native arts, Plateau health, Indigenous architecture, film, theatre, politics, Indigenous science, TEK, MMIW, and more.

While our names were read individually, in that setting we stood side-by-side as part of the whole.

NTAS students engage in research projects that advance Native-centered knowledge. This fall, the Introduction to Native American History course will work with Plateau knowledge holders to create digital interpretations of canoes and sn̓k̓ʷul̓mn̓ (things we use) as part of a larger digital humanities project. One year, students worked as “historical consultants” in the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives, researching tribal materials held in the collections, then preparing reports about the contents. At the end of the semester, one group’s report resulted in members of that community visiting the archives and reproducing materials to bring home with them. This kind of work connects students and community members in shared pursuits of knowledge and interpretation. 

Research is part of my academic practice as well, and I’m lucky that I’ve been able to co-author scholarly articles with Indigenous women including Shelly Boyd (Sinixt), Emma Noyes (Sinixt), and Miki’ala Pescaia (Native Hawaiian). According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2019 approximately 457,000 women taught at four-year private institutions. How many of those women were Native? 550. How many Native women were tenured? 136. I am the second Native person and the first Native woman to be tenured at Gonzaga—and I have only held tenure since 2020, 133 years after Gonzaga was founded. Institutions must do better. If we want to achieve equity, we absolutely must do better.

Standing on the shoulders of ancestors

Toni Lodge and Margo Hill reminded honorees and attendees that we stand on the shoulders of our grandmothers and walk the paths they blazed for us. My grandmother was with me that day in the roses she once beaded for my moccasins. The moccasins don’t fit anymore, but I moved the roses to a dress and a pair of gloves—I know she would be happy to see I still carry them with me as I travel some of the same Plateau paths she did.

Laurie Arnold, Ph.D. (Sinixt Band Colville Confederated Tribe) is the Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor of History.

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