- Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award (2022)
Since joining the IUPUI faculty in 2014, Holly Cusack-McVeigh has forged and fostered longstanding relationships with indigenous and international communities, educated students on how to respectfully work with marginalized people, and offered outstanding opportunities to her students to make a tangible impact on local communities.
Cusack-McVeigh’s partnerships with indigenous communities have led to many service learning experiences for her students. Her Community Collaboration and Curation course was co-created with the Saginaw Chippewa tribe’s Ziibiwing Center for Anishinaabe Culture and Lifeways. Her students are immersed in these community-driven projects, which culminate with them being invited to spend a week with the tribe. Students not only make significant contributions to the center, but they also gain a deeper understanding of the Anishinabek culture through cultural education and opportunities to meet with the Tribal community. In Cusack-McVeigh’s 2016 Indigenous Heritage course, students took part in a repatriation consultation with the Crow Creek and Rosebud Sioux Reservations of South Dakota and the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota.
Highly regarded in her field, Cusack-McVeigh was asked by the FBI in 2013 to assist in the largest recovery of stolen artifacts and human remains in the bureau’s history. She involved IUPUI right away–including two faculty members and many graduate students to triage the recovery process, provide spiritual guidance for the ancestral native human remains, and pack objects as evidence to be processed and stored prior to repatriation. She has also spent time on the repatriation of artifacts of many other Native American Nations, including the Three Affiliated Tribes in the Dakotas and the Ancestral Puebloan Nations of the Southwest. On the international front, she and her students have been involved in repatriating artifacts to China with U.S. State Department supervision and facilitation by the Eiteljorg Museum, and to Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Her work has also helped several African tribes and communities in Papua New Guinea, France, New Zealand, and Peru