iNative Research Group

Contact iNative

For general inquiries, iNative can be reached at:


Cheryl Metoyer

Cheryl A. Metoyer (Eastern Band Cherokee) is an associate professor emeritus and the director of iNative (formally the Indigenous Information Research Group) at the iSchool and adjunct associate professor emeritus in American Indian Studies. Dr. Metoyer's research interests include indigenous systems of knowledge with an emphasis on American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations; information seeking behaviors in cultural communities; and ethics and leadership in cultural communities. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Metoyer, working as a Project Director at the National Indian Education Association, assisted tribes and state agencies in planning and developing library services in urban and reservations communities. Over the years, she has had the honor of assisting the Mashantucket Pequot, Cahuilla, San Manuel, Yakama, Navajo, Seneca, Mohawk and the Lakota nations in the development of their libraries, archives and museums. In 2018, Dr. Metoyer received the Legacy Award from the American Indian Library Association.

Miranda Belarde-Lewis

Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni/Tlingit), Ph.D. 2013, is an assistant professor of North American Indigenous knowledge, and an independent curator. Her research examines the intersections between Native arts, Indigenous Curation and the impacts of digital technologies on the social and cultural lives of Native peoples. Miranda has curated exhibits for the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine

Iisaaksiichaa (Ross) Braine (Apsaalooke), MSIM 2015, serves as the UW tribal liaison and the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity’s director of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ (pronounced “wah-sheb-altuh” and translated as Intellectual House). In his capacity as both tribal liaison and director, Braine keeps his eye trained on the whole tribal landscape, surveying it from his multiple perspectives as an educator, advisor, and de facto diplomat, working most often with more than 60 local tribes, but also maintaining an open door to 573 tribes nationwide. In 2019, Braine received the UW Information School’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The annual award recognizes an exceptional graduate from any iSchool program who has made a significant contribution to the Information field.

Juan-Carlos Chavez

Juan-Carlos Chavez (Yaqui), Ph.D. 2017, is an associate director for the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline. He holds a principle investigator appointment at University of Washington's Earth and Space Sciences Department. His dissertation, “Native American Telecommunication Independence: One Step Above Smoke Signals,” examined the decision-making process involved in the implementation of information and communication technologies and its impact on the respective tribal communities. His research interests include Native American Systems of Knowledge, Information Poverty and Digital-Divide. His current projects involve high altitude balloon science and rocketry education for Northwest Tribes.

Marisa Elena Duarte

Marisa Elena Duarte (Pascua/Yaqui), Ph.D. 2013, is currently an assistant professor of Justice and Social Inquiry with the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Her book, Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet Across Indian Country (UW Press, 2017), proposes that tribes that have command over their Internet infrastructure increase the capacity for tribal leaders to organize around the health of tribal lands, waters, and peoples. Her current research is on the social and political implications of information, communication and technology (ICTs) in Native and Indigenous communities, and includes studies of Native activist discourses in social media, Indigenous women’s uses of wearable health trackers, and TV white space Internet connectivity in tribal communities. She teaches courses in critical Indigenous methodologies, justice theory, and surveillance. She also advocates for intellectual freedom and social justice, especially in Native American and borderland communities.

Jim LaRoche

Jim LaRoche, MSIM 2017, is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (Kul Wicasa Oyate) and currently part of the University of Washington Financial Transformation, spearheading information management efforts. Formerly he led American Indian/Alaska Native Outreach as part of Multicultural Outreach and Recruitment, a division of the UW’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. His interests include Indigenous metadata, stories, and access for AIAN students.

Sandra Littletree

Sandra Littletree (Diné/Eastern Shoshone), Ph.D. 2018, is currently a lecturer at the iSchool. Her research interests are at the intersections of Indigenous systems of knowledge and the library and information science field. Her dissertation research focused on the history and development of tribal libraries in the United States, where she examined the themes of advocacy, leadership, self-determination, cultural knowledge, and government responsibilities to tribes. She is a past president of the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and currently serves on several advisory boards for LIS projects in Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Tess Wilder-Cervantes

Tess Wilder-Cervantes (Karuk, Yurok, Tolowa, and Wintu heritage), MLIS 2015, is a teen services librarian in the Seattle area. Her responsibilities include engaging and building relationships with community partners that serve BIPOC, LGBTQ2SIA+, and insecurely housed and houseless populations; and advocating for change within institutions through equity-driven committee work.


Lisa Dirks

Lisa G. Dirks, Ph.D. student, is Unangax^ (Aleut) from Atka, Alaska. She has over 15 years of tribal health research and evaluation experience on diverse social science and health services research projects in rural and urban Alaska. Her current research interests include health informatics and community-engaged health research results dissemination, particularly the use of technology to facilitate collaborative results dissemination with Indigenous communities. She is also a member of the iMed research group. Visit Lisa’s website.

Hiran Eskeets

Hiran Eskeets (Diné), MLIS student, has a long-term goal of becoming an academic librarian. Ultimately, his main goal is to deliver information services for Native North American Indigenous communities. In addition, he is hoping to be an advocate for underrepresented groups, youth, elders, and victims of crime. He was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation near Gallup, New Mexico.

Nicole S. Kuhn

Nicole S. Kuhn, Ph.D. student, is a member of the Skidegate First Nations on Haida Gwaii, B.C., Canada. She has spent time conducting research on Indigenous knowledge with a focus on tribal research review boards, along with projects relating to the intersection of youth and technology. As a graduate of the iSchool Informatics program, she is interested in the impact of emerging technologies and data practices on Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada.