Institute for American Indian Research
The American Indian faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences proposed to create the Institute for American Indian Research (IfAIR) within the College of Arts and Sciences in Fall 2004. In its history, the University of New Mexico has had a long and complicated relationship with American Indian nations and people, one in which the University has frequently acted as a colonizer—as a place in which American Indians have served as “objects” of study rather than as students, faculty members, or administrators. In recent years, the University has made many efforts to change this relationship, and UNM now boasts an increasingly high number of American Indian students and faculty when compared with other similar institutions. However, American Indians are still all too often seen as objects of research rather than as researchers, and the University’s relationship with Native Nations and communities in New Mexico is tenuous at best. The creation of IfAIR by American Indian faculty represents a significant effort to change this reality. Specifically, IfAIR seeks to encourage and establish cooperative and collaborative relationships that serve the interests of Native peoples.