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A candidate for the Health Disparities professor is a doctoral candidate in a Department of Anthropology. As an applied cultural anthropologist, their research falls at the intersection of culture and health, with specific emphasis on religion and spirituality, resilience, futurities, and identity.Their dissertation research examined the ways that resilience in American Indian communities impacted how Native peoples navigated the pandemic and, most importantly, hoped to move forward from it. The candidate's previous work includes understanding the importance of Lakota oral and spiritual traditions for water protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline and contemporary American Indian identity. This is in addition to extensive work on Native health and educational disparities, including recreational tobacco cessation, mental health and addiction, and college preparation for reservation youth all using a community-based participatory research approach.
 

Job Talk: Being Good Ancestors: Fulfilling Post-Pandemic Futures in Native America

Abstract: American Indian communities were among the most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to navigate its far-reaching impacts. Drawing from conversations in 10 communities across Native America, this talk will detail how their responses to the pandemic challenge current approaches to resilience in anthropology and public health. Findings detail how resilience in these communities manifests as an iterative process that considers responses historically, contemporaneously, and how these responses, ultimately, shape the futures of their communities. While establishing a clearer picture of this dynamic for Native communities, findings from this project raise questions about the role of sustained and systemic traumas impacting resilience in many marginalized communities. Furthermore, as mainstream approaches to resilience often support biologically deterministic understandings, these findings highlight the necessity of engaging with broader definitions of health that incorporate community-level priorities such as senses of community connection, belonging, and cultural sustainability, alongside physical outcomes.

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