Jenny L. Davis

Indigenous Anthropologist, Activist, Sleep Enthusiast, Nerd


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I’m an associate professor of Anthropology,  American Indian Studiesand Gender and Women’s Studies and the Director of AIS at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My research and activism center around collaborative models of research & research ethics; Indigenous language revitalization;  the Two-Spirit identity and community, and NAGPRA and the repatriation of collections from Native communities.

I currently serve as the 2019-2023 Chancellor’s Fellow of Indigenous Research & Ethics. In this role, I am working to develop campus initiatives, including a campus-wide NAGPRA office, to ensure that the University is knowledgeable about and in compliance with U.S. and tribal government policies and protocols through collaborating with faculty, the NAGPRA Officer, campus and tribal leaders, and advising the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors on issues involving ethical research of Indigenous people, histories, and cultures. I also serve as the co-chair of the campus NAGPRA Advisory Committee.

I’m a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and hail from NE Oklahoma (the part with hills, water, and trees).

Before joining the faculty at UIUC, I earned a PhD in Linguistics in 2013 from the University of Colorado, Boulder. I was the Henry Roe Cloud Fellow in American Indian Studies at  Yale University in 2011-2012 and the Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Kentucky in 2013-2014.