Spears is Co-Director of Upstander Academy, a six-day professional development program for educators with the goal to create more inclusive curricula and schools, public conversations and spaces and to help educators, institutions and students counter bias. She is also the Director of Outreach and Programming and a founding member of the Akomawt Educational Initiative, an Indigenous education and interpretive consultancy that collaborates with museums, K-12 schools, universities, and public history institutions. endawnis has worked for the Heard Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, and is also a Public Member of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. In 2012 she was the Native American Arts and Culture Fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum. Originally from Camp Verde, Arizona, endawnis lives with her husband Cassius Spears Jr., and their four children, Nizhoni, Sowaniu, Giizhig and Tishominko in Hope Valley, Rhode Island.
As Tribal Community Member in Residence at Brown, Spears will continue to build on information collected by NAISI staff by identifying continued Native American and Indigenous student needs related to physical, spiritual, and mental wellness through the pandemic and moving forward. Spears looks forward to supporting the initiatives and goals of Native and Indigenous students, connecting the on-campus NA+I community to the Narragansett tribal community and other tribes, and strengthening the integral role of creating an Indigenous space for culture, joy, and kinship at NAISI.
Spears is the second Tribal Community Member in Residence at Brown, a position established, in part, by a 2019 Mellon Foundation grant to build Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown University. This position is focused on providing cultural, academic and psycho-social support and mentoring for Native American and Indigenous students on campus, and enriching the campus community through knowledge sharing and other contributions.
The TCMR position will also help to support the broader NAISI community on campus (students, staff and faculty engaged with Native American and Indigenous studies) by helping to expand engagement with students and serve in an advisory role for faculty on critical topics such as how to deepen representation of Native and Indigenous peoples and cultures and include Indigenous epistemologies within our developing Native American and Indigenous Studies curriculum. To make an appointment with endawnis, email her directly: [email protected].