Graduate Research and Travel Award Recipients

01/29/20 02:30:am

Clifton Cottrell

(Cherokee Nation)

Amanda LeClair-Diaz

(Eastern Shoshone/
Northern Arapaho)

Natasha Myhal

(Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Kara Roanhorse

(Diné/Navajo Nation)


The Native Nations Institute (NNI) is proud to announce the 2020 Graduate Student Research and Travel Awards. Six recipients are working on innovative research related to contemporary Indigenous issues that have practical policy implications and the potential to be useful to Indigenous leaders and decision-makers. The graduate students are using the NNI awards to present ongoing research at a national conference or collect data to strengthen their current research projects. We look forward to hearing more about their work. Meet a few of the awardees below.

Clifton Cottrell (Cherokee Nation)

Clifton is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and PhD student in Indigenous climate resilience at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. Clifton has a BA in History and Political Science from the University of the Ozarks, an MPAff from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas-Austin, and a JD from Baylor University. Clifton is also a UMD Global Stewards Fellow studying the food-energy-water nexus as part of an interdisciplinary NSF-NRT grant. His PhD work focuses on how a tribe's recognition status impacts governance, climate adaptation, and food security.

Amanda LeClair-Diaz (Eastern Shoshone/Northern Arapaho)

Amanda is originally from Ft. Washakie, which is located on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. She is a doctoral candidate in the Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies Department at the University of Arizona. Amanda’s major is Indigenous Education, and her minor is Teaching & Teacher Education.

Natasha Myhal (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Natasha, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is originally from Parma Hts., Ohio. She holds a BA in American Indian Studies and Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota, Morris as well as a MA in Indigenous Studies from the University of Kansas. Currently she is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center of the American West’s project Indigenous Connections at Rocky Mountain National Park. Her dissertation research project focuses on Ottawa tribal natural resource departments and their crucial role for the sustainability of Indigenous cultural landscapes. This research project seeks to understand the extent to which Ottawa resource managers are able to incorporate gikendaasowin “knowledge” into their programs.

Kara Roanhorse (Diné/Navajo)

Kara (she/they) is a first-year PhD student in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She is Diné (Navajo) from Tó’hajiilee, NM, however, her family is originally from Chi'chiłtah, NM. Kara graduated with her B.A. from Brown University with honors in Ethnic Studies in 2018, focusing on Critical Indigenous studies and public policy. Kara works with Native students as an Academic Facilitator/Tutor at the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board. She is also a Beinecke scholar (2017), a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow (2016), and Udall Scholar (2016). Kara hopes to build on her previous thesis research on rising Native youth online/offline resistance in the current digital-political age of utilizing technology for unintended revolutionary purposes. She is interested in Black and Indigenous feminist technoscience, Critical Indigenous studies, speculative fiction, and queer theory. Her main focus of study revolves around Black-Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) social movements, youth resistance building, restorative justice in schools, and decolonial non-capitalist futures.


Applications for the second round of Graduate Student Research and Travel Award are now being accepted.

Apply by February 15, 2020.


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