Diné woman Shelly Lowe nominated to lead National Endowment for the Humanities
GANADO, Ariz. — The Biden administration announced Oct. 5 its nomination of Ganado raised and citizen of the Navajo Nation, Shelly Lowe to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities. The position will require a confirmation by Congress for its four-year term.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is a federal agency that supports education and research of the field of humanities through partnerships with government, local leaders and public organizations, providing annually over $100 million in grants nationally.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be nominated by President Biden to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities,” Lowe said in a press release. “My time serving on the National Council on the Humanities has been immensely rewarding, and I look forward to continuing to serve and advance the humanities in this new role.”
Lowe said ensuring the American people have access to humanities institutions, resources and programs is critical in addressing challenges in the 21st century.
The nomination holds significance for Acting NEH Chair Adam Wolfson, who cited Lowe as the first Indigenous and only the second woman to lead the agency, making it historically significant.
The National Endowment for the Humanities was founded in 1965 along with its sister agency, the National Endowment for the Arts.
In addition to Lowe’s nomination, Maria Rosario Jackson was nominated as the first African American and Mexican American to chair the NEA. Both women have deep ties to Arizona with Jackson being a tenured Institute Professor at Arizona State University in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
“Both nominees are giants in their fields and both have stellar leadership credentials ... Shelly Lowe (Diné) will bring a grand and much needed insight and perspective to this role,” said James Blasingame, Board Chair of Arizona Humanities, in a social media post. “Having both NEA and NEA Chair nominees coming from Arizona is inspiring for all of us here.”