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Jay T. Johnson Dr.

Assistant Professor, Geography
Primary office:
Lindley Hall, room 402

Professor Johnson's current research interests concern the broad area of Indigenous peoples' cultural survival with specific regard to the areas of resource management, political activism at the national and international levels and the philosophies and politics of place which underpin the drive for cultural survival. Much of his work is comparative in nature and has focused predominately on New Zealand, Australia and North America.


Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2003

Chair, Indigenous Peoples Knowledges and Rights Commission of the International Geographical Union: Indigenous Peoples Knowledges and Rights Commission

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand 

For More Information: Geography Department Faculty Page

Teaching Awards
Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students, University of Nebraska - Lincoln Parents Association, 2007

Current Research:
Waitangi: a contested landscape
Professor Jay T Johnson and geography PhD student Will Price are currently conducting archival research and preparing for field research on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, site of the negotiation and initial signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori chiefs and the British Crown on 6 February, 1840. This treaty established British sovereignty over New Zealand while promising to protect Maori self-determination over their lands and treasured resources. The site of the signing of the treaty, the house occupied by the British Lieutenant-Governor and the Maori carved meeting house added for the 100th anniversary have become a major tourist destination. These buildings and surrounding lands were purchased by Lord Bledisloe, then Governor-General of New Zealand, as a gift to the nation intended to aid in nation-building. It is for this reason that the Treaty Grounds have become the focus of much of the Waitangi Day national holiday celebrations.

Maori, the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand, have, in more recent years used the Treaty Grounds as a site of protest over the failures of the New Zealand government to protect their self-determination since the signing of the treaty. They have used the ‘birth-place of the nation’ and the Waitangi Day national celebrations as an opportunity to air these grievances before the nation. This research project will explore the contested interpretations and employments of the landscape of the Treaty Ground to support frequently conflicting political and cultural agendas.

Jay and Will will travel to New Zealand in mid-January of 2010 to conduct research at the National Archives, the Auckland War Museum, and the University of Auckland libraries. We will also be conducting interviews prior to and during the Waitangi Day national celebrations at the Treaty Grounds with a variety of individuals involved in creating the spectacle and celebration. We intend to produce two journal publications related to this research and Jay hopes to continue the research and eventually produce a book. This research is partially supported through funds from the Kansas University Center for Research.


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Local Events

Neither Wolf Nor Dog Film Showing
Hosted by Dave Bald Eagle
Opens Friday, September 8 (will run for at least one week)
Liberty Hall
644 Massachusetts St., Lawrence
A white author gets sucked into the heart of contemporary Native American life in the sparse lands of the Dakota's by a 95-year-old Lakota elder and his sidekick.

Haskell Fall Welcome Back Pow Wow
Thursday, September 21 | Gourd Dance at  p.m., Grand Entry at 6 p.m.
Powwow Grounds, 2535 West Perimeter Road
Haskell Indian Nations University
Free and open to the public

Red Hot Graduate Research: "Indigenous Feminism(s) & Tribal Governments"
Sierra Watt, ISP graduate certificate student and Ph.D. candidate in Political Science
Friday, September 22 | 4 p.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall
University of Kansas campus, 1340 Jayhawk Boulevard

Red Hot Graduate Research is intended to bring together graduate researchers from all disciplines. The format of these sessions features short, slide-based talks that introduce audiences to a topic. Red Hot Graduate Research will feature five graduate researchers speaking for six minutes each. Audience members are encouraged to connect with the speakers (and each other) during breaks. We hope that through these sessions, graduate students will have an opportunity for cross-disciplinary discourse that will in turn give new perspectives on their work and provide a forum for future work in their chosen research fields.

"My Life as a Student of African American History and Culture: An Appreciation"
Professor Emeritus Bill Tuttle presenting The Bill Tuttle Distinguished Lecture in American Studies
Thursday, October 5 | 4 p.m.
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union
University of Kansas campus
Free and open to the public
Co-sponsored by the Indigenous Studies Program

Presentation on Tribal Disenrollment with Attorneys Bree Black Horse and Gabe Galanda
Thursday, October 12 | 12:30 p.m.
107 Green Hall, University of Kansas campus

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