UCLA faculty members are available to comment on a wide variety of topics affecting Native American and Indigenous communities, from recent Supreme Court decisions and educational equity to U.S. Census data-collection efforts and violence against women.

Violence against women 

Shannon Speed
Speed is the director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center, a special advisor to the UCLA chancellor on Native American and Indigenous affairs, a professor of anthropology and gender studies, and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She can comment on Indigenous sovereignty and rights, hate crimes, violence against women, the history of Indian boarding schools, mass incarceration and migration. Speed notes that Native women are exceedingly likely to be victims of violence — they are murdered at 10 times the national rate, 1 in 3 have been victims of rape, and 3 in 5 have been physically assaulted.


“There are thousands of missing and murdered Native American women in this country, yet most Americans are not even aware of the problem.  

Educational access 

Angela Riley
Riley is director of UCLA’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center, chair of UCLA’s Repatriation Committee and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her research focuses on Indigenous peoples’ rights, and as a special advisor to the UCLA chancellor on Native American and Indigenous affairs, she is working to implement the Native American Opportunity Plan, which provides tuition and fees for Native American tribal members across the UC system.


“Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups within higher education. We need to take bold action to ensure access, opportunity and equity.” 

Resisting erasure 

Kyle Mays
Mays is an associate professor of African American studies, American Indian studies and history and is the author
of “An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States.” He is a citizen of the Saginaw Anishinaabe tribe. 


“Native American Heritage Month is an important time to reflect on the Indigenous nations who survived genocide and are producing various forms of Indigenous content within popular culture to show the beauty, humor and meaning of contemporary Indigenous life and culture.”

Desi Small-Rodriguez
Small-Rodriguez is an assistant professor of sociology and American Indian studies,
a Northern Cheyenne Indian, and a Chicana. She researches and advocates for data justice and improved data collection efforts, including government data and the census, Indigenous demography, social determinants of health, and tribal nation rebuilding.

Email: desisr@soc.ucla.edu 

“Indigenous peoples are still here and thriving amid 500 years of colonial violence. We are diverse. We are your neighbors. We are doctors, teachers, students and relatives. We are not relics of the past. We continue to contend with structures and institutions that seek to erase us; and still we resist.” 

Sovereignty and justice 

Carole Goldberg
Goldberg, a professor of law emerita and a member of the Indian Law and Order Commission under President Obama, studies Indian justice systems and the legal nuances of tribal sovereignty. She can comment on the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, which allows states to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians on reservations.


“This opinion upended centuries of understanding of the law. The Supreme Courts implicit policy judgments run directly contrary to those put forward in the unanimous bipartisan 2013 report of the Indian Law and Order Commission.”