Chancellor Gene Block sent the following message to the UCLA campus community today:

I am delighted to announce the joint appointment of Professor of Law Angela R. Riley and Professor of Gender Studies and Anthropology Shannon Speed as UCLA’s special advisors to the chancellor on Native American and Indigenous affairs.

These two outstanding scholars and leaders will build on the excellent work of outgoing special advisor Professor Mishuana Goeman to help UCLA nurture respectful relationships with Native and Indigenous communities and serve the needs of our Native and Indigenous Bruins. They will play a central role in working with campus partners to support UCLA’s recently announced Native American and Pacific Islander Bruins Rising Initiative.

Professor Riley is a distinguished lawyer, jurist and expert on Indigenous governance. She is director of both UCLA’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center and the J.D./M.A. joint degree program in Law and American Indian Studies. An enrolled tribal member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, in 2003 she was appointed to its supreme court, becoming the first woman and youngest justice in its history. She has served as chief justice of the tribe’s supreme court since 2010, She has also served as co-chair of the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Partnership Policy Board, appellate justice on the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians Court of Appeals and on the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Court of Appeals.

Professor Speed is an anthropologist whose work lies at the intersections of Indigenous studies, Latin American studies and gender studies. A respected expert in Indigenous politics, legal anthropology, human rights, migration and related issues, she is director of UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center and is past president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Professor Speed is currently working on her next book, a volume on Chickasaw tribal law and sovereignty. She was named Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year in 2014, that same year received the lifetime achievement award from the State Bar of Texas Native American Law Section and in 2021 received the American Anthropological Association President’s Award for her research with Indigenous women.

Professor Riley and Professor Speed have made impressive intellectual contributions to UCLA and already done much to support the well-being of Native American communities on campus. As special advisors, they will play an even greater role in shaping our campus’s efforts to respect both the historic culture and the contemporary presence of Native American and Indigenous peoples throughout California, and especially in the Los Angeles area. I am grateful to have Professor Riley and Professor Speed provide strategic counsel to UCLA’s leadership team, and hope you will join me in welcoming them to their special advisor roles.