In 2010 UNM joined the Newberry Library Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS). Since then, Cathleen Cahill, assistant professor of history, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale, associate professor of American studies, have been collaborating with other UNM faculty members to build UNM participation in the larger consortium community.

Cahill said that her colleague, Sam Truett, was instrumental in bringing UNM scholars into contact with the Newberry Library. Truett was the Lloyd Lewis Fellow in American History at the Newberry in 2008-09. In joining, UNM has made a three-year commitment to the consortium.

The UNM consortium team has representatives from history, American studies, anthropology, English, linguistics, Native American studies, the law school, fine arts and University Libraries. UNM students from history and American studies participated this summer.

As a consortium member, UNM joins 14 other United States and Canadian universities including the University of British Columbia, University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of Wyoming, University of Montana and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

"We saw the Newberry consortium as an opportunity for UNM graduate students to participate in programs, workshops and seminars," Cahill said, pointing out that one student from each university is selected to participate in summer programs and special workshops, and students from member institutions can also participate in consortium conferences and apply for travel grants. She added, "Graduate students can network with current and future scholars in the field. It's great for future connections."

"The students get to conduct research in the Newberry Library's great American Indian archival collection. They get to engage in conversation with internationally known American Indian scholars through the D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies," Cahill said.

Faculty members from the schools can to apply to teach the seminars and workshop and take advantage of travel funds. Cahill and Denetdale submitted a workshop proposal that was accepted. They taught a month-long seminar, Gender in Native American History and Communities, this summer at the Newberry.

"This is an excellent opportunity for faculty to teach seminars. Travel grants are provided, and students get travel, housing and a stipend," Cahill said.

Denetdale noted that this was an important collaborative opportunity for UNM, "The field of Native American studies is fast-paced and gaining international attention. We have both native and non-natives at the forefront of the discussions with expertise that overlaps."

Denetdale said that while they were in Chicago at the Newberry, students from other universities asked her about UNM's doctoral programs. "Scholars from UNM bring knowledge to the consortium," she said.

Denetdale said this has helped recruit two students to UNM. "Melanie Yazzie came from Yale, where she had a full ride. She came because of our faculty and programs. Marcella Ernest came to UNM because of our faculty interest in native studies," she said.

Denetdale added that many UNM students are eager to participate in the consortium programs.

Cahill and Denetdale also met former alumni Steve and Cindy Mitchell in Chicago. "Cindy is a Newberry trustee and Steve's sister, Stephanie Bennett-Smith is on the UNM Foundation Board," Cahill said. "These are exciting connections," she added, "which we hope will help us as we seek additional interest and funding to build UNM's connection to the consortium beyond the first three years."

Cahill and Denetdale will be holding an informational meeting about the consortium opportunities for interested student and faculty members later this semester. Please contact them for details or to be added to the consortium's mailing list.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; e-mail: