American Indian Studies is an interdisciplinary field that was founded on principles of educational sovereignty –the right to define and teach Indigenous ways of being and knowing (ontologies and epistemologies) in a culturally relevant and appropriate manner. As a field, AIS prioritizes Indigenous histories, worldviews, perspectives, and methodological practices that are steeped in traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices regarding the production of knowledge.
50 years later, current faculty and staff in AIS include:
AIS 50 Team
Director of American Indian Studies
Denise Wiyaka (Ihanktonwan) is the Director of American Indian Studies at UW-Madison. She also provides student advising and administers the AIS Certificate Program.
Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Civil Society & Community Studies
Kasey Keeler, an enrolled tribal member of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and a direct descendant of the Citizen Band of Potawatomi, is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Civil Society & Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Her research examines federal Indian policy, land policy and dispossession, housing policy, (sub)urbanization, as well as place-based histories, erasure narratives, and placemaking.
Assistant Professor of U.S. History and American Indian Studies
Matt Villeneuve (Turtle Mountain descent) is Assistant Professor of U.S. History and American Indian Studies, whose work on the history of Native schooling you can learn more about at mattvilleneuvephd.com. In the meantime, when he isn't doing history, Matt enjoys reading, hiking, and losing most of the board games he plays.
Sasha Maria Suarez
Assistant Professor of History and American Indian Studies
Sasha Maria Suarez (direct descendant of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation) is an Assistant Professor of History and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines Indigenous social movements and gendered practices of Ojibwe placemaking, community organizing and activism.
Jen Rose Smith
Assistant Professor of Geography and American Indian Studies
Jen Rose Smith (dAXunhyuu) is an Assistant Professor of Geography and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the intersections of indigeneity, racialization, and cultural-scientific landscapes of ice in the Arctic.
Troy Reeves is the Oral Historian at the UW-Madison Archives& Records Management, having served in that role since June 2007. Reeves has held leadership roles in the Oral History Association, including starting a four-year term in its Executive Council in October 2022.
Kacie Lucchini Butcher
Kacie Lucchini Butcher is a Public Historian whose work is dedicated to building empathy and advancing social justice. She is currently the Director of the UW–Madison Public History Project, a multi-year effort to uncover and give voice to the histories of discrimination, exclusion, and resistance on campus.
Don Stanley is a teaching faculty in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches digital communications and marketing. He has been working in tribal communities for over 30 years. He co-founded Tribal Youth Media Camps with Dr. Patty Loew and helps run the camps in the Lac Courte Oreilles and Bad River Ojibwe communities. He received a certificate in American Indian Studies in the 1990s.
Project Assistant for the American Indian Studies program
Morgan Smallwood is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison completing a PhD in the Civil Society & Community Research Program. She also serves as the Project Assistant for the American Indian Studies program.
Rachel is a fifth-year student at UW majoring in history major. Rachel is also pursuing pre-med requirements as she hopes to pursue medical school in the hopes of becoming an oncologist. When not attending class and studying, Rachel enjoys photography, kayaking, and reading.