Graduate Welcome Letter and Diversity Commitment

We invite M.A. and Ph.D. applications from students interested in contributing to a more compassionate, critically conscious, and socially just society in which Indigenous knowledges, histories, and cultures of the Americas are recognized and honored.  Our unique interdisciplinary approach includes attention to the increasing diaspora of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, and calls upon the authority of Native intelligence (as expressed in Native knowledges, voices, images, and texts) to address issues that concern Native peoples, and to build on the strategies for continuance that Native peoples have developed over the centuries.

Our graduate program is multidisciplinary, allowing you the freedom to explore Native American Studies from a variety of perspectives. The research interests of our faculty are wide-ranging and reflect the richness of the lives and histories of Native peoples of the Americas. The C. N. Gorman Museum and the Native American Language Center contribute to this diversity by sponsoring events related to the visual arts and to language study, respectively. The Yocha Dehe Endowed Chair in California Indian Studies regularly hosts presentations by California Native leaders and community members, and supports research and collaborations in California Indian Studies. The Indigenous Research Center for the Americas fosters partnerships with Indigenous communities throughout the Americas to address issues of land access and cultural and human rights.

The UC Davis campus is located in the traditional homeland of the Patwin (Southern Wintun) people. The Sacramento and central Sierra foothill region is the traditional homeland of the Nisenan and Northern Sierra Miwok. To the west are the lands of the Wappo, Lake Miwok, and numerous Pomo groups, in the San Francisco Bay area are the lands of the Coast Miwok and the diverse nations known as Ohlone or Costanoan. Nearby urban areas are home to Native peoples from throughout North, Central, and South America. Cultural gatherings, powwows, educational events, tribally-led land restoration projects, Native American performances, and art exhibits can be found both on campus as well as in nearby metropolitan and rural areas.

Please reach out to Program Coordinator Victoria Torres or to any members of the faculty with questions about the program. We look forward to hearing from you.

Zoila Mendoza
Professor and Chair 

Diversity Commitment 


The graduate program in Native American Studies at UC Davis welcomes students from all backgrounds who are interested in pursuing the study of and with indigenous people of the Americas. The NAS graduate program values a diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences among its students, knowing that a diverse student body strengthens the research, scholarship, and teaching of all members of our community. By its nature, the NAS graduate program addresses the diversity of indigenous peoples in the Americas through inter and multi-disciplinary approaches and perspectives. In our courses and in the training of our students, we address major issues of difference such as race/ethnicity, history, class, gender, sexuality, religion, language, and culture, to name some.  A key aspect of this diversity is that each graduate student must fulfill a language requirement that involves the study of one indigenous language. We have a commitment to prepare our graduate students to be able to articulate this diversity in their scholarship and teaching, and to be able to interact with indigenous communities in an ethical and respectful manner. As a part of our commitment to diversity there are numerous resources, mentoring workshops, events, and professional staff positioned campus-wide to meet the needs of our graduate students as they achieve their professional, educational, and career goals.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Josephine Moreno at mjmoreno@ucdavis.edu, UC Davis’ Graduate Diversity Officer for Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, with any questions or concerns regarding diversity in Graduate Studies. For the latest on Grad Diversity initiatives, please visit  www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/diversity. The University of California Diversity Statement can be accessed at https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/governance/policies/4400.html.  The UC Davis campus-wide Principles of Community can be accessed at http://occr.ucdavis.edu/poc/

 For inquiries within Native American Studies, please contact Victoria Torres, Graduate Program Coordinator (vgtorres@ucdavis.edu), for additional information.

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