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Indiana U Starts New Native American Program

BLOOMINGTON, IND. -- Brian Gilley, associate professor of anthropology and director of the ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies program at the University of Vermont, has been selected as the first director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center at Indiana University Bloomington.

 In addition to directing the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, Gilley will be an associate professor of anthropology and an adjunct professor in IU's American Studies Program. He also will become a part of IU's Committee on Native American and Indigenous Studies, which coordinates the doctoral minor in this field and an anticipated undergraduate degree.
The First Nations Educational and Cultural Center (FNECC) was established in 2007, the culmination of efforts by IU students, faculty and staff of Native American heritage, with the support of many others. The center's mission includes recruiting and supporting students of Native American descent and educating everyone about their cultural heritage. The term "First Nations" refers to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian peoples.

"By supporting the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center with a full-time faculty member as director, IU Bloomington has shown a significant commitment toward fulfilling its stated mission of recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented groups," Gilley said.

"A more robust and visible First Nations center complements the campus' mission towards increased diversity, equity and multicultural activities, including a highly successful group of existing cultural centers," Gilley added. "The excellence of IU Bloomington in the area of First Nations, American Indian and indigenous studies is widely known internationally. Thus, fully supporting the center completes a commitment to Native peoples extending beyond research to prioritizing the education of First Nations students, fulfilling the university's role in the community and supporting Native faculty and staff."

"The appointment of Brian Gilley as director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center is an important step toward building a rich, vibrant Native presence within the IU Bloomington community," added Charles Sykes, executive director of the IU Office of Multicultural Initiatives.

"We enthusiastically welcome Brian's participation and leadership as a member of the IU faculty and director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center. His contributions will be a great asset to both the university and its constituent communities," added Dr. Edwin C. Marshall, IU president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs.

Gilley is a recognized expert in the area of American Indian GLBTQ issues, HIV/AIDS among American Indians and public policy as it relates to health and the body. His research with American Indian communities has been funded by the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

He continues to consult for federal agencies including HRSA and the Centers for Disease Control, national and regional Native health advocacy organizations and HIV/AIDS policy makers.

Since receiving his Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Oklahoma in 2002, Gilley has been an active participant in Native student organizing and support services at the University of North Dakota and the University of Vermont and continues to be involved with tribal and local Native communities.

His recent book, Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), documents the ways "Two-Spirit" -- or gay -- Native American men challenge their alienation from mainstream Native and tribal society. His next book, co-edited with three other scholars, Critical Queer Indigenous Interventions, will be published in 2011.

Gilley grew up in Shawnee, Okla., and is of Oklahoma Cherokee, Oklahoma Chickasaw and Eastern Band Cherokee descent.

Prior to Gilley's appointment, the FNECC has been overseen by Sykes; Lillian Casillas, director of Latino Cultural Center; and Joseph Stahlman, an anthropology doctoral student and a Native American.

Since being established, the FNECC has worked with the American Indian Student Association, the Native American Graduate Students' Association and other student groups as well as various departments and cultural centers on campus. Its programs have included a Native Film Series, artist workshops, and observance of National American Indian Heritage Month.

IU Bloomington also is home to the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, La Casa and the Asian Culture Center, which are other campus resource centers serving students of various backgrounds. The FNECC is located in Weatherly Hall at Ashton Center, 400 Sunrise Drive.



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