The Association of Indigenous Anthropologists is A Section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Its unofficial origins began informally in rooms at the annual meetings of AAA’s throughout the years dating back roughly to the 1980s. Lakota anthropologist Beatrice Medicine and other allies would gather to lament the ironies of being involved in a discipline about culture, largely built off the American Indian cultures, while remaining on the margins of the mainstream of the anthropological narrative/canon. The discipline itself has had well under 100 enrolled tribal members in its entire history since 1902. Officially, the formation of the section was organized by JoAllyn Archambault (Standing Rock Sioux) in 2007-2008. Each year the AIA sponsors panels and papers that examine pertinent issues involving Indian Country proper and issues that affect indigenous populations within this hemisphere and Native North America in particular.
About the (AIA) American anthropology was largely founded upon the study of American Indians, both present and past, and until the last few decades there were few professional anthropologists able to claim tribal enrollment. Although the number today remains miniscule, the AIA does exist to provide support, encouragement, and mentoring for Natives interested in anthropology. The purpose of Association of Indigenous Anthropologists (AIA) is to
- advance anthropological study relating to Indigenous peoples, both past and present;
- support and encourage the professional development of members by supporting a forum for respectful and engaged discussion of common issues and current work;
- provide a network for the support and encouragement of Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students of anthropology;
- increase intellectual exchange by sponsoring symposia, sessions, workshops, exhibitions and publications; advance and facilitate stronger ties between Indigenous communities and the field of anthropology;
- encourage professional work that will benefit both the discipline of anthropology and Indigenous communities.