UNM Department of Anthropology and UNM Department of Native American Studies Hitchcock-Kelly Fund for Human and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Departmental News

Posted:  Sep 27, 2022 - 01:00pm

Thanks to a generous donation from Melinda Kelly and Robert Hitchcock, the department is excited to announce The Hitchcock-Kelly Fund for Human and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, which will provide support for collaborative projects and programs implemented between the departments of Anthropology and Native American Studies. The projects will include annual support of student-related research and applied activities to advance and bring attention to human rights and Indigenous peoples’ rights. 

Melinda C. Kelly (BA, cum laude, University of Michigan, 1970). In Botswana (1975-1976) she assisted in research, interviews, report writing, grant accounting, artifact collecting and analysis, and many months of campfire cooking in the field. In the past nine years, she has attended numerous anthropological and ecological conferences and has done ethnographic field work in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Her research has focused on human wildlife interactions, ethnohistory, and indigenous knowledge of plants, animals, and insects. Currently she works with faith-based organizations and the Kalahari Peoples Fund on issues involving human and indigenous peoples’ rights.  

Robert K. Hitchcock (BA, University of California Santa Barbara, 1971, PhD University of New Mexico, 1982) is a board member of the Kalahari Peoples Fund (KPF), a non-profit organization that provides funding for education, development, and capacity building training for indigenous and minority peoples in southern Africa. He was part of the University of New Mexico Kalahari Project in 1975-76 along with Melinda C. Kelly. A significant portion of his ethnographic and human rights work has been with the San (Bushmen) of southern Africa, especially those of Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, with whom he has worked for nearly five decades. He has also worked with American Indian communities in New Mexico and other areas on land rights, tourism, and development issues.