Major(s): Anthropology, Religion

What type of experience did you have over the summer?
Independent Research

What did you work on?
I conducted research in Lawton, Oklahoma that focused on Indigenous peoples and the production of archives through my family’s history, specifically as it pertains to my family’s tribe: The Comanche Nation. I used ethnography and auto-ethnography techniques to look at intersections between queerness and Indigeneity, Indigenous food culture, language, and family relationships and how they are defined by blood quantum practices. I also used photography as a medium to conduct research and look at how archives are erased, produced, and exploited. I plan to use this research as preliminary findings for the thesis I will write during my senior year.

What was a highlight of your experience?
I had the opportunity to work with Sam (pictured below), who is an elder of my family’s tribe and speaks fluent Comanche, which is extremely uncommon due to the erasure of Indigenous languages. It was a special gift to speak with and learn from him. He told me oral histories about my family, and taught me Comanche words, which were valuable to my research, but also a personal gift I will remember forever.

How did your summer experience impact you?
This summer truly impacted how I approach issues of Indigenous sovereignty politics, as well as other issues that concern Indigenous peoples. It also impacted my relationship with my family and Oklahoma. As valuable as that was for my research, especially because I conducted auto-ethnography based research, it was also a personal gift that will carry me a long way in my life and my career.