Professors Laura Sachiko Fugikawa (Assistant Professor, American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) and Amber Hickey (Faculty Fellow, American Studies) launched the Critical Indigenous Studies Initiative in 2019-2020. This initiative seeks to center Indigenous scholarship and activism in regular community forums, collaborate with and support Indigenous students, support faculty who engage with Indigenous and Native American Studies during regular working group meetings, and continue to build relationships with Indigenous community members in Maine. The interdisciplinary working group includes members from the American Studies Program, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Theater and Dance Department, French and Italian Department, Anthropology Department, History Department, and Spanish Department.

In 2019-2020, the American Studies Program co-sponsored lectures and film screenings across the college featuring Indigenous scholars and activists. In February 2020, the students in Prof. Amber Hickey’s Land, Sovereignty, and Art course, along with several members of the Four Winds Native American Alliance, visited the Wabanaki land reclamation project Nibezun in Passadumkeag, Maine. During a walking tour with Stanley Neptune (Penobscot), the students learned about land-based knowledge initiatives, including the maple-syrup gathering process and Nibezun’s forthcoming medicinal plant trail. The visit concluded with a lunchtime discussion with Penobscot elder and artist Tim Shay. Community activist Corrina Gould (Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone woman, born and raised in Oakland, CA/the territory of Huichuin), was the initiative’s first guest speaker in 2020-2021.

In fall 2021, CISI collaborated with the University of Maine’s Native American Programs to organize a series of events in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. For more information, please see here.

Students interested in learning more about Indigenous studies may consult this list of courses offered at Colby.



  • Indigenous Perspectives on AI (Thursday, March 10th, 4pm-6pm). More info here.
  • Crash Course: Settler Colonialism (Tuesday, March 29, 4pm-5:30pm, Lovejoy 100). More info coming soon. 


Courtesy of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.