2023 NASPA Annual Conference

2022 Power and Place Symposium

The 2022 NASPA Power and Place Symposium is a two-day, virtual pre-conference organized by the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community (IPKC), NASPA Orientation, Transition, and Retention Knowledge Community, NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success, and Indigenous representatives from the National Education Association and Native American LifeLines in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The symposium centers the ideas in the seminal text Power and Place: Indian Education in America, co-authored by the late Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) and current Haskell Indian Nations University faculty member Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma). Power and Place serves as the theoretical orientation for keynote presentations, concurrent sessions, and each supporting element of the symposium. 

All program times on the schedule are listed in U.S. Eastern Time.


The old people, surveying the landscape, had such a familiarity with the world that they could immediately see what was not in its place. If they discerned anything that seemed to be out of its natural order—a nocturnal animal in the daytime, unusual clouds or weather conditions, or a change of the plants—they went to work immediately to discover what this change meant...When the people saw an imbalance, their understanding of the natural ordering of cosmic energies informed them that their responsibility was to initiate ceremonies that would help bring about balance once again.

Vine Deloria, Jr.
Power and Place: Indian Education in America

The theme "Bringing Balance Back to the Higher Education Landscape" focuses on the breadth of balance and how practitioners, scholars, and administrators restore, engage, and extend this energy in building campus ecologies that support the participation of Indigenous higher education communities. 


A significant Power and Place Symposium goal is to privilege and promote Indigenous worldviews regarding orientation, transition, retention on college campuses, and higher education leadership. The Symposium is for student affairs professionals, higher education scholars, allied educators, and anyone interested in questioning, reflecting, and imagining how Power and Place engender conditions for Bringing Balance Back to the Higher Education Landscape.

Use these hashtags to see what others are sharing #PowerAndPlace22 #NASPA22 #BringingBalanceBack


As a result of attending the Power and Place Symposium, participants will:

  • Explore challenges and possible solutions in creating empowering education and development experiences for Indigenous higher education communities;
  • Develop an increased awareness of institutional conditions that negate and repress the presence of historical, political, and linguistic relationships between place and Indigenous peoples;
  • Reflect on the structural relationship between settler colonialism and higher education and its impact upon the educational and cultural realities of Indigenous peoples; 
  • Consider the implications for designing orientation, transition, and retention programs as critical interventions that support the self-determination and political autonomy of Indigenous peoples in higher education; and
  • Develop an extended professional network of reciprocity by sharing, learning, and exchanging knowledge and resources.

Power AND Place Webinar Series

The planning committee designed this webinar series to prepare participants to engage intentionally in the symposium. The series is open and free and requires registration by visiting the links for each webinar. 


Charlotte E. Davidson is Diné and a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, also known as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. She is the daughter of Nora (Yazzie) and Wilbur Wilkinson, Sr. Her maternal grandparents are Sally (Manygoats) and Kee Horseherder-Yazzie. Her paternal grandparents are Molly (Wolf) and Ernest P. Wilkinson. Concerning kinship relations, she is of the Tó'aheedlíinii (Water Flows Together People), born for the Waterbuster People. Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Kinłichíi’nii (Red House People), and her paternal grandfather is the Flint Knife clan. Her service in NASPA includes membership on the Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community Leadership Team, 2022 Conference Leadership Committee, and 2019-2022 NASPA SERVE (Supporting, Expanding, and Recruiting, Volunteer Excellence) Academy. Dr. Davidson is the guest editor of the Winter 2021 issue of the Leadership Exchange and is NASPA's Indigenous Relations Advisor. She earned her B.A. degree in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University and her M.Ed. degree and Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Davidson presents nationally and internationally on Indigenous higher education, Indigenous matrilineal pedagogies, and place-based relationalities and has written and co-authored chapters in Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education; Indigenous Leadership in Higher Education; Reclaiming Indigenous Research in Higher Education; and A Better Future: The Role of Higher Education for Displaced and Marginalised People. In addition, she is a clinical faculty member for the department of student affairs administration at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.

Carlos Guillen was raised in Northern New Mexico. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. As the Associate Director of First Year Programs at the University of Washington, Carlos provides leadership to a department charged with the successful transition of over 9,000 first-year students. As NASPA’s Equity Inclusion and Social Justice coordinator for the Orientation, Transition, and Retention Knowledge Community (OTR KC), Carlos works with OTR professionals across the association to promote racial equity resources and professional development opportunities through the KC. In addition to his work with first-year students and racial equity, Carlos’ draws on over ten years of professional experience in higher education, including curriculum development, parent and family programs, bias incident response, online/distance learning, and assessment.


Daniel Begay (Navajo/Santa Clara Pueblo), University of New Mexico

Dr. Brett Bruner, Arkansas Tech University

Terry Chavis (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), Highpoint University

Dr. Nizhoni Chow-Garcia (Diné), California State University Monterey Bay

Kari Deswood (Diné), San Juan College

Dr. Judith Estrada, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Freda Gipp (Apache Tribe of Oklahoma/Comanche), Haskell Indian Nations University

Roderick Lansing (Navajo), University of New Mexico

Kerry Lessard (Shawnee), Native American LifeLines

Kimberlie Moock, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Dr. Monica Nixon, NASPA

Sedelta Oosahwee (Three Affiliated Tribes/Cherokee), National Education Association

J. Māhealani Quirk (Kanaka ʻŌiwi), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Chelsea Reid (Gullah & Geechee), Boston University

Preston Reilly, University of Chicago

Dr. Tiffani Smith (Cherokee and Muscogee Creek), Oklahoma City University

Dr. Sarah Whitley, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Dr. Erin Kahunawaikaʻala Wright, (Kanaka ʻŌiwi), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Andrew Yazzie (Navajo), University of New Mexico


Tribal College and University (TCU) staff, faculty, and students are invited to register free of charge for the symposium. Please contact Monica Nixon at [email protected] for details. 



  • 1:00 pm to 1:15 pm

    Welcome and Recognition of Place

  • 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm

    Indigenous Self-determination: Building College-Going Traditions at Haskell Indian Nations University

    Moderator: Dr. Erin Kahunawaikaʻala Wright (Kanaka ʻŌiwi Hawaiʻi), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

    Guest: Dr. Daniel R. Wildcat (Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma), Haskell Indian Nations University

    In this opening session, moderator Erin Kahunawaikaʻala Wright discusses with Daniel Wildcat how Power and Place: Indian Education in America (Deloria & Wildcat, 2001) extends perspectives about first-generation college students. In addition, this session will offer experiential insights into Indigenous teaching strategies and whole-person approaches to supporting this particular student community at Haskell Indian Nations University.

    This session is sponsored by NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success.

  • 2:30 pm to 2:45 pm


  • 2:45 pm to 4:00 pm

    Cultivating At-a-Distance Kinship Practices: Experiential Reflections of NASNTI Leaders

    Moderator: Dr. Judith Estrada, University of California, Santa Cruz

    Panelists: Gabrielle Allan (Diné/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), University of Minnesota, Morris; Dr. Ashley McMillan (Lumbee), University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Byron Tsabetsaye (Diné/A:Shiwi), San Juan College

    "Practical Indigenous professionals" (Wildcat, 2001) recognize the loss of direction that occurs when navigating two cultures, not worlds. In so doing, virtualized learning environments have engendered new ways of perceiving, cultivating, and experiencing kinship. In this second session, moderator Judith Estrada will dialogue with institutional leaders at Native American Serving Non-tribal Institutions (NASNTIs) about specific strategies, services, and approaches to sustaining relationships and connections with Native students.

  • 4:00 pm to 4:15 pm


  • 4:15 pm to 5:30 pm

    Centering Institutional Responsibility: Advancing Indigenous Student Success

    Moderator: Dr. Sarah Whitley, Assistant Vice President, NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success

    Panelists: Sharon Singer Doctor, (Diné), Director - Student Life Experience, Office of Indigenous Student Success, Northern Arizona University; Dr. Hollie J. Mackey (Northern Cheyenne), Executive Director, Consortium for the Study of Values and Leadership and Associate Director, UCEA Graduate Student Development, North Dakota State University; Dr. Zoe Higheagle Strong (Nez Perce), Executive Director of Tribal Relations/Special Assistant to the Provost, Director, Center for Native American Research & Collaboration, and Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Washington State University

    As a majority of Indigenous students also share the first-generation intersectional identity, extant literature elevates the need for asset-based approaches and a deepened understanding of identity and lived experiences to improve academic and co-curricular outcomes. This panel will discuss the power of intentionality in serving this student population, what can be learned from intersectional identities, and how asset-based approaches create important opportunities for better serving Native students.


  • 1:00 pm to 1:15 pm

    Welcome and Recognition of Place

  • 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm

    A Whole Community Approach to Student Development: Perspectives of Tribal College Presidents

    Moderator: Dr. Kevin Kruger, President, NASPA

    Panelists: Dr. Donna Brown (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), Turtle Mountain Community College; Dr. Cynthia Lindquist (Spirit Lake Dakota), Cankdeska Cikana Community College; Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald (Ihanktowan/Sahnish/Hidatsa/Hunkpapa), United Tribes Technical College; Dr. Laurel Vermillion (Hunkpapa-Lakota), Sitting Bull College

    In this session, moderator Kevin Kruger engages tribal college and university (TCU) presidents on how a "whole community approach" (Williams, 2007) fosters a climate of trust and positively shapes equitable learning environments for TCU higher education communities. Participants will also gain insight into how these institutional types strengthen tribal sovereignty and self-determination and promote culturally responsive approaches to holistic student success.

  • 2:30 pm to 2:45 pm


  • 2:45 pm to 4:00 pm

    Stewarding Emergence: The Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community (IPKC) in NASPA

    Moderator: Chelsea Reid (Gullah & Geechee), Boston University

    Panelists: Pam Agoyo (Ohkay Owingeh, Cochiti, & Kewa Pueblos), Member at Large, NASPA Board of Directors; Dr. Karen Francis Begay (Diné), University of Arizona; Dr. Heather J. Shotton (Wichita/Kiowa/Cheyenne), University of Oklahoma

    In this session, moderator Chelsea Reid discusses with IPKC founders the factors that led to IPKC’s emergence, including how IPKC’s origin story offers lessons about organizational ecologies, relationality, and leadership. Importantly, the practical expertise of the panelists will bring into perspective the challenges and possibilities of ushering Indigenous-centered special interest groups into existence. This session benefits participants with all levels of leadership experience.

  • 4:00 pm to 4:15 pm


  • 4:15 pm to 5:30 pm

    Navigating Disequilibria: A Hoghaan Dialogue Among Diné Higher Education Leaders

    Presenters: Dr. Nizhoni Chow-Garcia (Diné), California State University Monterey Bay; Dr. Charlotte E. Davidson (Diné/Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation), Indigenous Relations Advisor, NASPA; and Kari Deswood (Diné), San Juan College

    Restoring balance is both a traditional and current-day Diné sensibility. In this closing session, Diné higher education leaders demonstrate how the Hoghaan—an east-facing, womb-based, traditional home place for Diné—serves as a type of “traditional technology” (Deloria, 2001) to introspect, negotiate, transform, and reimagine Diné engagement in organizational settings. This session benefits participants interested in utilizing Indigenous modalities to achieve harmony.