New Costo Chair and California Center for Native Nations Director

By My Nguyen, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

On Tuesday, November 27th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Dean Stephen Cullenberg held a reception on the Dean's Patio honoring the newly appointed Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, Clifford Trafzer, and introducing the new California Center for Native Nations Acting Director, Rebecca Kugel.  The event featured Larry Myers, Executive Secretary of the California Native American Heritage Commission who led the welcoming ceremony.

Rupert Costo (Cahuilla) and Jeannette Henry Costo (Cherokee) helped found UC Riverside in the mid-20th century.  In 1986, they created the Costo Chair of American Indian Affairs, the first chair in the nation endowed by American Indians.

Trafzer, a Yucaipa resident, is of Wyandot and German ancestry and has spent his life working with American Indian communities in Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington and California.   He joined the UCR faculty in 1991 after serving as chair of the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University for nine years.  With history professor Rebecca Kugel, he established major and minor Ph.D. fields in American Indian history at UCR, one of the few doctoral programs devoted to Native American History in North America.

Trafzer has published several books, including The People of San Manuel, Chemehuevi People of he Coahella Valley, and Death Stalks the Yakama: Epidemiological Transitions and Mortality on the Yakama Indian Reservations.

Kugel, Associate Professor of History, received her BA degree in English from the University of Iowa in 1974; her Masters degree and Ph.D. degree in History from UCLA in 1986.  Her research focuses on the Native people of the western Great Lakes, in particular the Ojibwes.  She is also interested in Native women's history.  Her first book, To be the Main Leaders of Our People; A Political History of the Minnesota Ojibwe, 1820-1898, exams historical Ojibwe political processes and the successes different leaders had in dealing with the United States.  It won the Choice Book Award for 1998.


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