Institute of American Indian Arts President Dr. Robert Martin, Cherokee, conferred degrees and certificates on 73 students during commencement held on May 13, 2017 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Scheduled commencement speaker Irene Bedard (Inupiat/Yupik/Inuit/Cree/Métis) was not able to attend, so Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neets’aii Gwich’in), an IAIA Board of Trustees member read the speech Bedard had prepared.
During the ceremony, long-time faculty member Linda Lomahaftewa (Hopi/Choctaw) was awarded an honorary doctorate.
The Institute of American Indian Arts offers undergraduate degrees in studio arts, creative writing, cinematic arts and technology, indigenous liberal studies, and museum studies, as well as a minor in performing arts and a graduate degree in creative writing.
Pictured above during the pre-ceremony line-up are, from left, Institute of American Indian Arts graduating Native American students Erin Elliot (Poarch Creek/Irish)-BFA Studio Arts; Tania Larsson (Gwich’in)-BFA Studio Arts; Sasha LaPointe (Nooksack)-MFA Creative Writing; and Amy Red-Horse (Cherokee/Powhatan)-BFA Museum Studies.
Of the 73 graduates, the Institute of American Indian Arts graduated 13 from Alphi Chi National College Honor Society, including:
- David Beams (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)
- Justus Benally (San Carlos Apache Nation)
- Veronica Clark
- Del Curfman (Crow Nation)
- Katharina Deiter (Peepeekissis Cree)
- Elizabeth Elliot (Poarch Creek/Irish)
- Harleigh Herrera (Navajo/Cochiti Pueblo)
- Tania Larsson (Gwich’in/Swedish)
- Denise Lynch (Comanche)
- Nami Okuzono (Japan)
- Damian Price (Isleta Pueblo)
- Amy Red-Horse (Cherokee/Powhatan)
- Carmen Selam (14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation)
The Institute of American Indian Arts has students from 100 federally recognized tribes and 33 states walking its halls. It is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
“IAIA has helped me explore artistic mediums that have changed the way I look at the world,” said 2016 graduate Carmen Selam (Yakama/Comanche). “Through constant guidance, and exploration, I will be leaving IAIA with newfound passions that will ultimately shape my future.”