IAIA Newsletter—January 2022
Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 12, 2022

Welcome to the January edition of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Newsletter. This edition includes recent news and past, current, and upcoming happenings at IAIA. For questions, comments, or feedback, please contact IAIA Director of Communications Jason S. Ordaz at jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.
Making History: Celebrating 60 Years of IAIA and 50 Years of MoCNA
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), the birthplace of contemporary Native American art, has been the educational home for esteemed, innovative artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, and leaders since 1962. Just ten years after its humble beginnings on the Santa Fe Indian School campus, IAIA began collecting and exhibiting student artworks, a collection that soon became the world’s premier collection of contemporary Indigenous art—the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA).

Today, IAIA continues to grow on its stunning 140-acre campus, offering more and more certificate, undergraduate degree, and graduate degree programs, and MoCNA continues to expand its renowned collection of over 9,000 artworks, curating numerous progressive and innovative exhibitions, both traveling and at MoCNA’s location in downtown Santa Fe. This year, as we remember our rich history and look to our vibrant future, we ask everyone to join us in celebrating IAIA’s sixtieth anniversary and MoCNA’s semicentennial. The celebration of this monumental 60/50 anniversary will encompass the theme Making History and will be a prominent part of all IAIA and MoCNA events in 2022. Additionally, we have designed a commemorative 60/50 Anniversary logo, which will be displayed throughout the year.

In 2022, when you join IAIA or MoCNA for any public event, be it the IAIA Commencement, IAIA Scholarship Event and Auction, MoCNA Opening Reception for Summer Exhibitions, IAIA’s Annual Open House, or any other exhibition or event, you will also be joining us in celebrating our 60/50 Anniversary—Making History.
New Virtual Tour—Bringing the IAIA Campus to You
Want to visit the IAIA campus, but can’t travel right now? Want a guided tour during a time when Admissions staff are unavailable? Well, you are in luck! Because now you can take a tour of the IAIA Campus from the comfort of your home. With audio narration and written descriptions of each location, it’s like having a guide with you as you virtually move through our stunning 140-acre campus on the new virtual tour, available through Google Maps technology in partnership with Mass Interact, the leader in interactive virtual tour experiences. Googlebot (Google’s web crawler software) is hard at work crawling and caching IAIA’s new 360° photographs to create a searchable index. This new index raises IAIA’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score and rank, further expanding the college’s reach both nationally and internationally.

The crisp, vibrant immersive images provide a 360° view so you can look all around each building, classroom, and studio. Zoom in and out to get a closer look and quickly travel through our halls and from building to building with the easy-to-use navigation arrows, or by clicking through the navigation bar on the left-hand side. The virtual tour is quick and easy to use on a mobile device or a desktop.

Whether you want to take a look at the Land-Grant Garden, sneak peek MoCNA’s Collections, or even take a walk through our IAIA Library stacks, look no further than the device you’re reading from now! The tour provides information about our campus, and the immersive images alone can be viewed directly from Google Maps. Virtually visit the IAIA Campus today and see a part of what we have to offer.
Spring 2022 Return Plan
Dear IAIA Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable holiday break.

As we prepare for the beginning of the 2022 Spring semester, the safety and well-being of our community continues to be the highest priority. Due to the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 Omicron variant resulting in a surge of positive cases, all classes will begin in an online format for the first two weeks of the semester, January 18–30. On January 31, in-person courses will switch from the online format back to on campus.

For on-campus housing, students should reach out to Associate Dean “JR” Romero to schedule revised check-in dates. If travel arrangements, however, have been made already and students prefer the original check-in dates for Housing, new students can begin check-in at 8:00 am on Sunday, January 9, and returning students can begin check-in on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Please note that IAIA will maintain existing COVID-19 protection protocols, including required mask-wearing, social distancing, and weekly surveillance testing. For more information on IAIA’s COVID-19 policies, please consult the COVID-19 info page.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact my office, Dean of Students Nena Martinez Anaya, Academic Dean Felipe Colón (Laguna Pueblo), or Human Resources Director Todd Spilman. For more information, please see our website.

Best regards,

Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
IAIA President
IAIA Decolonizes their Mathematics Curriculum
When it comes to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), one aspect that is perhaps not addressed enough is the exclusiveness of the fields. Traditionally, STEM fields are constructed, taught, and learned from Western perspectives, often limiting who enters STEM fields. While many science classes at IAIA have long incorporated Indigenous knowledge systems into their curricula, until recently, the mathematics curriculum has largely been taught with mainstream pedagogies. Recently, IAIA has been revamping its mathematics courses to incorporate an Indigenous mathematics curriculum.

The new Indigenous mathematics curriculum will not only change the accessibility of math, but also acknowledges the STEM backgrounds of Indigenous Peoples. “Indigenous Peoples had a whole taxonomy language way before colonizers made the Latin-based taxonomy system we use today,” says IAIA Assistant Professor of Mathematics Andrea Otero, MEd. “That gets disregarded in Western education systems. Part of decolonizing curricula means giving credit to the voice.”

“Educators need to continue to be educated. It’s not about being a master, it’s about listening—if you’re listening, you’re learning.” 

Other aspects of the Indigenous mathematics curriculum include recognizing and celebrating the many different learning styles and backgrounds of students, keeping classes organic and fluid to keep the information relevant and applicable, and more hands-on learning, as well as hands-on assessment. Otero explains that often students understand the material but are not naturally attuned to Western-based pedagogies and assessments, and because of this, their talents and intelligence may go undetected. With an Indigenous mathematics curriculum, students will have the option of demonstrating their understanding of mathematics in a variety of ways, which includes applying their knowledge to hands-on endeavors, such as building small structures and/or works of art rather than solely writing out mathematic equations without context.

The integration of an Indigenous mathematics curriculum at IAIA has, in many ways, been under development since 2018 when President Dr. Robert Martin proposed that IAIA’s mathematics courses find a more effective curriculum for the Developmental Education courses and Otero became the first mathematics instructor in New Mexico to use Quantitative Reasoning. IAIA’s Indigenous Liberal Studies department has also played a major role in creating this curriculum. Through these collaborative efforts, the Indigenous mathematics curriculum continues to develop. While many changes have already been implemented, in a lot of ways, an Indigenous mathematics curriculum will be something that is always in the stages of development by the sheer nature of its foundation as fluid, contemporary, and relevant. As Otero says, “Educators need to continue to be educated. It’s not about being a master, it’s about listening—if you’re listening, you’re learning.”

Emergency Funding for Students
IAIA has received federal funding from the Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF) I, II, and III in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021. These acts provide the US Department of Education with funds to distribute to institutions of higher education in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Unlike the CARES Act, which funded the first emergency grants to students in 2020, the CRRSA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants. However, students do not need to be Pell recipients or eligible for Pell grants to be identified as having exceptional need.

Our application process asks students to identify and attest to their need as a result of the coronavirus in order to prioritize awards. To meet this requirement, IAIA has developed a tiered system to distribute the emergency grants to students (while funding is available).

Learn more about the tiered system on the IAIA Financial Aid web page.

Questions regarding the funding can be directed to IAIA Financial Aid Director Scott Whitaker at scott.whitaker@iaia.edu or (505) 424-5724.
COVID-19 Student Vaccination Mandate—Submit by January 23
In light of the evolving pandemic and spread of COVID-19 variants, the IAIA Board of Trustees has instituted a 2021–2022 COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate.
This mandate requires that all students and family members living on campus, attending in-person classes, or utilizing campus facilities complete this form and provide either:

  1. Proof of full vaccination, or
  2. Proof of one dose of a vaccination, with a second dose date scheduled, or
  3. A declaration of exemption based on health, religion, or philosophical objection
Failure to submit this form before Sunday, January 23, 2022, 5 pm, will result in disenrollment from in-person classes and denial of access to campus facilities.

For questions, please contact IAIA Academic Dean Felipe Colón at fcolon@iaia.edu.

COVID-19 Testing Dates

COVID-19 testing takes place in the Health Clinic (located in the CLE Building). Registration must be completed prior to the test at www.doineedacovid19test.com. After the registration process is completed, registrants will be notified via email with a voucher ID number, which must be printed and brought to the test appointment. This test is much less invasive than prior COVID-19 tests administered on campus. Each individual will conduct a self-swab test while healthcare workers observe the process.

The next testing date is Thursday, January 13, from 12–4 pm. A listing of testing dates is available on the COVID-19 web page.
MFA in Studio Arts Lectures during the Spring 2022 Residency
IAIA’s Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts (MFASA) is hosting lectures during its Spring 2022 Residency. Register for the lectures at the following links.

Offering areas of emphasis in Integrated Practice, Studio Arts 2D Practice, and Studio Arts 3D Practice, the two-year, low-residency curriculum is grounded in Indigenous cultures and reflects the history and challenges of our time. By engaging in art history and deep discussions of art’s function in society, while also incorporating critiques by peers and Master Artist Mentors, the MFASA program allows students to develop their own artistic style and find their place in the art world.

The low-residency model provides a professional degree in Studio Arts while allowing students to live at home and continue participating in work, family, and community. This model allows for artists to fully immerse themselves in the experience of who they are, as an individual, as an artist, and as a member of their community.

To learn more about the program and for information on how to apply, please visit the MFASA webpage. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2022 semester is March 1, 2022.
Artist-in-Residence Artists Announced for the Spring 2022 Semester
The IAIA Artist-in-Residence (A-i-R) program has an impressive cohort of artists for the Spring 2022 semester. The A-i-R program hosts Native and First Nations artists for variable-length residencies for art-making and interaction with IAIA students, staff, faculty, and the greater Santa Fe arts community.


  • Lily Hope (Tlingit), January 20–February 8
  • Ursala Hudson (Tlingit), January 19–February 8
  • RYAN! Elizabeth Feddersen (Okanogan/Arrow Lakes), February 11–March 11
  • Cliff Fragua (Jemez Pueblo), February 21–April 21
  • Bert Benally (Diné), March 7–April 4
  • Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee Nation), April 1–April 29
  • Rochelle Adams (Gwich’in), April 6–April 29

The program demonstrates the diverse ways in which art is an integral part of cultural continuity and the intergenerational transference of knowledge. Artists participate in opening and closing receptions, public workshops and demonstrations, classroom visits, critique sessions with students, and events hosted by other organizations in Santa Fe.

“A special component of IAIA’s residency program is the sense of community that comes from bringing practicing Indigenous artists together with college students who are also studying art and culture. It makes for a dynamic and inspirational experience that we are happy to share with the Santa Fe community through our free public events.”
—IAIA Artist-in-Residence Program Director Dr. Lara Evans (Cherokee)
MoCNA’s January 2022 Exhibitions and Public Programs
If you missed MoCNA’s monthly announcement on December 20, you can still view the January Exhibitions and Public Programs newsletter on the Constant Contact website. The newsletter features recent news, happenings, exhibitions, public programs, new offerings from the IAIA Store, and much more.

The Museum is open Mondays, and Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 am–5 pm, and on Sundays from 11 am–4 pm. The Museum remains closed on Tuesdays.
2021–2022 IAIA College Catalog
“The 2021–2022 academic year will be one of recovery and renewal for each one of us, our home communities, and the world. I want you to know that IAIA will do everything it can to protect your safety and support your academic and personal growth.”
—IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin

Download and view the 2021–2022 IAIA College Catalog.

The cover art features Jeff Kahm’s Converse. This catalog is dedicated to the memory of IAIA Assistant Professor Jeff Kahm, MA, and to everyone in the IAIA Community who has suffered loss and hardship during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Join the IAIA Community—View Open Positions
IAIA is looking to hire driven individuals who believe in and support IAIA’s mission, “To empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and outreach.”

IAIA offers competitive salaries and an outstanding benefits package for regular full-time positions, which includes, medical, dental, vision, term life, long term disability, short term disability, a 403B investment plan, and Employee Assistance Program.

To see available positions, view the Employment page.
Town Hall Meetings Hosted by IAIA President
Watch Town Hall Meetings hosted by IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin.

The Vimeo playlist includes 21 videos, all of which are archived and can be viewed at anytime. (Includes town hall meetings, convocation, and others.)
IAIA Alumni Spotlight—Sharon Henderson (Diné) ’21
For IAIA Alumna Sharon Henderson (Diné) ’21, storytelling is in her DNA, and she explores this side of herself through a multitude of mediums.

When Henderson first took an interest in the film industry, she had no idea what her journey had in store. So, as she started auditioning for roles, she took screenwriting and filmmaking classes here and there to learn more about the process. Fast forward five years, and she has an MFA from IAIA’s MFA in Creative Writing (MFACW) program with a double major in Screenwriting and Creative Nonfiction. However, screenwriting is just one piece of the puzzle for her as a storyteller.

Henderson now has a budding film career. In the five years since she began acting on the side, Henderson is now a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) actor. She recently landed her first guest star recurring role on the upcoming AMC television thriller Dark Winds, premiering in 2022. You can also see her in Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut, When You Finish Saving The World, starring Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard, which premieres virtually at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2022.

Henderson also works behind the camera. After landing a role in a period piece, she voiced concerns about the attire chosen for the Navajo actors—it was not authentic. This experience led to further work as a Costume Stylist and Designer on other productions, including an ad for the Nike N7 Collection and a feature film. Her short film, Wish, was also officially selected for the Emerging Filmmakers Program in the 2021 LA Skins Fest and the Animalis Fabula Film Festival, where it was awarded “Best of the Fest” for Outstanding Short Narrative in January 2021.

Sharing knowledge and education is critical to Henderson as she learns more about the ins and outs of the film industry. She now acts as a mentor for True Kids 1 and Film Prize Jr., nonprofit organizations that make film and media more accessible to the youth. In reconnecting with herself as a storyteller, she wants to aid others in finding their voices again. For Henderson, it’s not about what you can do—it’s about what can’t you do.
Community News and Happenings
The following contains information about recent happenings and news within the IAIA community.

Current Exhibitions at MoCNA.

Additionally, you can view the IAIA Community Calendar, which includes community-only happenings, as well as important dates from the Academic Calendar. (IAIA Community: If you would like to subscribe to the IAIA Community Calendar, please send a request to jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.)
From the Collection

This month’s featured image from the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ digital collection.

Marissa Irizarry (Fort Peck Dakota/Taíno), Dragonfly #2, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 in. S-341; Museum Purchase, 2021; Courtesy of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Image courtesy of the artist.
From the Photo Archive

This month’s photographic session from the archive is a series of photographs of Studio Arts and Museum Studies seniors. The session is from September 24, 2021.
For questions, comments, or feedback, please contact IAIA Director of Communications Jason S. Ordaz at jason.ordaz@iaia.edu.

Newsletter written by IAIA Communications staff Jason S. Ordaz, Nicole Lawe (Karuk) ’16, and Veronica Clark ’21. All photographs by Jason S. Ordaz, unless cited otherwise.
About the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing and Studio Arts; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly a hundred federally recognized tribes. Named one of the top art institutions by UNESCO and the International Association of Art, IAIA is among the leading art institutes in our nation and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).