Assistant Professor of History Holly Guise has been awarded two national fellowships to support her research on the colonial/Indigenous relationship during World War II Alaska.

Guise is one of 60 recipients of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship and one of 24 recipients of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project, “World War II Alaska: Native Voices History.” Both will fund Guise’s research for three semesters. 

Holly Guise
Assistant Professor Holly Guise

Her research looks at the utilization of the U.S. empire and military by Native nations to protect their homelands from the Japanese after the invasion of the Aleutian Islands in 1942. Guise examines the assertion of Indigenous sovereignty by utilizing Native oral histories in collaboration with tribal and community-based organizations. 

The fellowships Guise received will allow her the time to complete her monograph which will be published by the University of Washington Press. 

As an oral historian and an Iñupiaq/Alaska Native historian, Guise’s research focuses on lifting the voices of Indigenous people in wartime Alaska. Her research methods bridge together archives, tribal archives, community-based research, and oral histories with Alaska Native elders and veterans. 

The roots of this book began in 2008 when Guise began interviewing Alaska Native elders about their experiences with racial segregation both pre- and post-1945 when the Alaska Equal Rights Act was signed. 

Joseph Senungetuk, his wife Martha Senungetuk (l.) and Holly Guise (r.) at the Anchorage Museum SEED Lab in April 2022. His interview is on Holly's website.

In 2013, Guise began interviewing Alaska Native elders about their memories of WWII Alaska as servicemen, civilians, and children. Her research has culminated in the creation of a digital humanities website that features content from Native elders, veterans, and Unangax╠é internment survivors. 

“I feel very fortunate to be able to continue the Alaska Native oral history project that I have essentially been working on since my undergraduate years,” Guise said.

The ACLS fellowship is the longest-running program for the organization. It funds both tenured and non-tenured researchers with varying stipends, having opened up to non-tenured researchers after the pandemic. The fellowship selects from all fields of study and seeks to help enhance diversity in scholarship in order to recognize all sectors of higher education.

The Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship is administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation.

The UNM Department of History is one of the top 50 graduate programs in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.