American Indian and Alaska Native Ph.D.s in the US– How many? Who are they?

Jeannie Greene http://www.jeaniegreene.net/jeanie-greene.html, documentary producer (Heartbeat Alaska) raised an interesting topic– that there were only 45 Natives who hold Ph.D.s in the US.

That seems awfully low. Can you help add more names? Below are folks I have found, using AISES and SACNAS. Amazingly, I’m lucky enough to know many of the names and people, some personally.

Alaska Native– 2012-09-15, 2012-dec-24, 2013-03-03 now 25! 57+ check at https://ykalaska.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/alaska-native-ph-d-s-from-dr-jessica-bissett-perea/

Dr. George Charles (Yup’ik)
Dr. Patricia Cochran (AN)
Dr. Walkie Charles (Yup’ik)
Dr. Denise Dillard (AN)
Dr Alisha Drabek (Alutiiq-Sugpiaq)
Dr Phyllis Fast (Koyukon Athabascan)
Dr. Dolly Garza (AN)
Dr. Sara Hicks (AN)
Dr. Sven Hakaanson (Alutiiq-Sugpiaq)
Dr. Theresa John (Yup’ik)
Dr. April Lakonten Councillor (Alutiiq-Sugpiaq)
Dr. Beth Leonard (AN)
Dr. Jordan Lewis (AN)
Dr. Dorothy Pender (AN)
Dr. Elizabeth Parent (AN)
Dr. Gordon Pullar (Alutiiq-Sugpiaq)
Dr. Catherine Swan Reimer (Iñupiaq) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRBCi_B0Tt0
Dr. Thomas Michael Swensen (Alutiiq-Sugpiaq)
Dr. Roy Roehl (AN)
Dr. Bernice B. Tetpon (AN)
Dr. Lisa Rey Thomas (Tlingit)
Dr. Kamilla Venner (AN)
Dr. Steven Verney (AN)
Dr. Tony Vaska (Yup’ik)
Dr. Maria Williams (Tlingit)
Dr. Rosita Worl (Tlingit)

2014-10-22 I have another table, from 2001, made by Cecil Thomas and donated to this topic by Dr. Anne S. Waters, J.D., Ph.D. The pdf version is here, Native PhDs, 2001, collected by Cecil Thomas Eventually duplicates will be corrected. I’m sure there is a more definitive version at the National Science Foundation but that is not accessible. My apologies to those who have not yet been recognized. Spreadsheet version–
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19OQrbcM9bGE-I4M2VxRxFyH5ezX2MEVnU7aqWZ6_-Yg/edit?usp=sharing

American Indian– 2012-09-15 110 (haven’t checked for duplicates)
Dr. Alison Ball (Colville) University of Oregon
Dr. Amy Lonetree Ethnic Studies Ho Chunk
Dr. Andrea Smith History of Consciousness Cherokee
Dr. Andrew Jolivette
Dr. Annette Reed,Ethnic Studies Tolowa
Dr. Anton Treuer, Leech Lake Ojibwe
Dr. April Lea GoForth Eastern Band of Cherokee,
Dr. Audra Simpson Anthropology Mohawk
Dr. Bette Jacobs, Public Health Professional
Dr. Beverly R. Singer (Santa Clara Pueblo/ Diné), Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies, Director of Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) , Director of Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, UNM. The late Dr Ortiz was also an anthropologist and another who demonstrated great courage in proceeding to his studies.
Dr. Bonnie Duran
Dr. Brenda Child, History, UMN, Red Lake Ojibwe
Dr. Brendan Fairbanks, Linguistics, Ojibwe
Dr. Carmen Nappo, Meteorologist
Dr. Carter Revard
Dr. Chris Sims
Dr. Christine Lowery (Dine) Utah;
Dr. Christopher Andronicos, Geologist
Dr. Claudia Welala Long, (Nez Perce) Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies;
Dr. Clifton Poodry, Biologist
Dr. Craig Love, Psychologist
Dr. David Chang, History UMN, Kanaka Maoli
Dr. David E Wilkins Political Science Lumbee
Dr. David E. Wilkins, Poly Sci, UMN, Lumbee
Dr. David Martinez, Philosophy, Arizona State
Dr. David R. Burgess, Biologist
Dr. David Truer, Literature (i think), UMN Leech Lake Ojibwe
Dr. Denise Low, English Lenni Lenape
Dr. Devon A. Mihesuah
Dr. Donald Fixico History Shawnee, Sac and Fox, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole
Dr. Donna Langston, University of Colorado at Denver;
Dr. Donna Nelson, Chemist
Dr. Duane Champagne Sociology Chippewa
Dr. Emily Haozous, (Apache)
Dr. Fred_Begay (Navajo)
Dr. Gilbert John, Microbiologist
Dr. Glenabah Martinez, (Taos/Diné)
Dr. Gregory Cajete
Dr. Healani Chang, Clinical Behavioral Scientist/Pacific Biosciences
Dr. Hillary Weaver
Dr. Ian Thompson Choctaw
Dr. Jace Weaver
Dr. Jacquelyn Bolman, Environmental Scientist and Academic Advisor
Dr. Jani Ingram, Chemist
Dr. Jay Hansford C Vest, Saponi-Monacan, UNC-P
Dr. Jean O’Brien, History, UMN White Earth Ojibiwe
Dr. Jeff Means History Lakota
Dr. Jennifer Denetdale (Diné), Associate Professor of American Studies,
Dr. Jennifer McAlpin Navajo
Dr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale History Navajo
Dr. Jerrel Yakel, Neuroscientist
Dr. Jim Northrup
Dr. Joan Esnayra, Geneticist
Dr. Joanne Barker
Dr. Jodi Byrd English Chickasaw
Dr. John Spence, retired;
Dr. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Anthropology, Creek
Dr. Karen Magnus, Biophysicist
Dr. Karina Walters,
Dr. Ken Ridgway, Geologist
Dr. Kimberly Huyser, (Diné)
Dr. Kimberly Roppolo http://www.nativewiki.org/Kimberly_Roppolo
Dr. Lee Anne Howe, Literature, Choctaw, UI-Champain-Urbana
Dr. Lee Bitsóí, Educator
Dr. Leola Tsinnajinnie, (Diné)
Dr. Linda Burhansstipanov, Public Health Educator
Dr. Linda E. Oxendine, History emeritus, UNC-P Lumbee
Dr. Lloyd L. Lee (Diné), Assistant Professor of Native American Studies
Dr. Lorenda Belone, (Diné)
Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, History, UNC-Chapel Hill Lumbee
Dr. Mandy Fretts, U of Wash first Nations Mik’maq
Dr. Marcus Cloud Briggs Divinity from Harvard Miccasukee (sp?),
Dr. Margaret Hiza, Geologist
Dr. Margaret Nelson Cherokee 90 years young!
Dr. Maria Tenario,
Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Braveheart,
Dr. Marigold Linton, Cognitive Psychologist
Dr. Mary Alice Tsosie (Diné), Director of Oral History Project, University Libraries, IFAIR Board
Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, History UNC-P, Lumbee
Dr. Mattie Harper Ethnic Studies Anishinabe
Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua Ethnic Studies Chamorro
Dr. Michael Yellow Bird (Arikara/Hidatsa), Professor of Social Work, Humboldt State University
Dr. Monica Tsethlikai, Psychologist
Dr. Nancy Jackson, Chemist
Dr. Natchee Blu Barnd Ethnic Studies Anishinabe
Dr. Ned Blackhawk History Shoshone
Dr. Philip Deloria History Lakota
Dr. Rebecca Garcia, Mathematician
Dr. Reyna Ramirez Anthropology Ho Chunk
Dr. Rina Swentzell http://www.nativewiki.org/Rina_Swentzell

Dr. Robert Megginson, Mathematician
Dr. Robert Perez Ethnic Studies Apache
Dr. Robin Kimmerer, Plant Ecologist
Dr. Robyn Hannigan, Environmental Scientist
Dr. Rodney C. Haring
Dr. Russell Stands-Over-Bull, Geologist
Dr. Scott Richard Lyons English Ojibwe
Dr. Scottie Henderson (Navajo) Scottie worked with me on tribal water quality codes before going on to marine biology
Dr. Stacy Leeds Cherokee
Dr. Steven Crum History Western Shoshone
Dr. Tassy Parker, (Seneca)
Dr. Theresa Gregor English Santa Isabel
Dr. Thomas Crofoot,
Dr. Tiffany Lee, (Diné)
Dr. Tom Ball (Klamath/Modoc), University of Oregon;
Dr. Vibrina Coronado, Performance Studies, independent scholar, Lumbee
Dr. Vincent Werito, (Diné)
Dr. Waziyatawin Angela Wilson PHD History Dakota
Dr. Wilfred Foster Denetclaw, Zoologist
Dr. William Bauer History Round Valley

Please add names to the comments and whether Alaska Native or American Indian. I’ll update the listing.

NSF listing (sans names) is http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/sed/2011/data_table.cfm

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42 responses to “American Indian and Alaska Native Ph.D.s in the US– How many? Who are they?

  1. Dr. Jim Northrup, Doctorate of Letters

  2. I would check the following sources for more research: National Congress of American Indians http://ncai.org , and the National Indian Education Assoication http://niea.org and the American Indian Graduate Center at http://aigc.com. I wonder – even if your research ends up showing double the number of PhD’s initially quoted – say for instance 100? How that percentage would compare to the per capita occurence of PhD’s overall in the United States?

    One sources says: “…under one percent of (the) population (in the United States) (0.96)… including people with professional degrees who are normally referred to with Dr title like physicians, dentists, etc (MD, DDS, etc) 5,373,866 (2.95%) of (the) US population over (age) 25 carry doctor title. link: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_QTP20&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U&-redoLog=false

    If looking at the same US Census (2000) data that shows AI/AN population at between 1.4 Million and 2.1 Million (dependant on whether you identify the populations that are listed as one race or more than one race) – then even 100 PhD’s would give a percentage rate of between 7/1000ths of 1 percent (0.007%) to 4/1000ths of 1 percent (0.004%) of the occurence of PhDs in the AI/AN population.

    That means that in mainstream society in the US you can expect that approximately 1 to 3 people in 100 of the people you meet on average will have a PhD or doctoral level of education, in Indian Country you can expect that between 4 to 7 people in every 10,000 American Indian/Alaska Native people that you meet will have that same level of education.

    Interesting topic…

  3. Thank you for the additional information. One can always argue the value of PhDs and how many are needed. But, certainly there are too few for what is needed these past 50 years.

    It would be interesting for someone to examine how the role of higher education (even tertiary but especially post-baccalaureate) has changed with several peaks. Judging only from my experience, I think in the past 15 years there has been a major increase in graduate training. There was one in the 70s for the Pueblos, at least. There was a similar cohort in Alaska around the land claims settlement. Partly, I wonder how much the bias against education and the bias against Native identity has shifted over time, in addition to the general circumstances of access to any education which affects all ethnic groups. I’m sure there was a spike after WWII and the GI bill.

    I can just imagine the courage of folks such as the late Dr Ed Dozier and Ed Ladd who went to get higher education in regions very different from remote New Mexico and to become major contributors to everyone’s knowledge.

    I would am also curious about the fields which have been chosen. The Alaska Native list (Indian, Eskimo, Aleut) has a lot of anthropologists or anthropologically trained fields (rural development). As does the earlier generation of scholars from the Pueblos.

  4. Just thought of someone from the Pueblos but my mind is not clicking at the moment. In Googling her**, I located https://www.unm.edu/~ifair/2012bookfest.html

    - Beverly R. Singer (Santa Clara Pueblo/ Diné), Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies, Director of Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) , Director of Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, UNM. The late Dr Ortiz was also an anthropologist and another who demonstrated great courage in proceeding to his studies.
    - Lloyd L. Lee (Diné), Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Native American Studies
    - Jennifer Denetdale (Diné), Ph.D., Associate Professor of American Studies,
    - Mary Alice Tsosie (Diné), Director of Oral History Project, University Libraries, IFAIR Board
    -Michael Yellow Bird (Arikara/Hidatsa), Ph.D., Professor of Social Work, Humboldt State University

    Alaska Native–
    - Steven Verney (Tshimshian), Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, IFAIR Board
    - Kamilla Venner, (Athabascan), Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, IFAIR Board

    **I was thinking of the anthropologist Dr Rina Swentzell http://www.nativewiki.org/Rina_Swentzell

  5. Tassy Parker, PhD (Seneca)
    Tiffany Lee, PhD (Diné)
    Leola Tsinnajinnie, Ph.D. (Diné)
    Maria Williams, Ph.D., (Tlingit)
    Lorenda Belone, PhD (Diné)
    GLENABAH MARTINEZ, PhD (Taos/Diné)
    Emily Haozous, PhD (Apache)
    CHRIS SIMS, PhD
    VINCENT WERITO, PhD (Diné)
    Maria Yellow Horse Braveheart, PhD
    Kimberly Huyser, PhD (Diné)
    Karina Walters, PhD
    Bonnie Duran, PhD

  6. Claudia Welala Long

    Good to see someone is counting…In the Pacific NW and SW, to broaden the search rather than simply identifying the hard sciences ~ many are academics and researchers in the social research disciplines; add:
    John Spence, PhD., retired; Claudia Welala Long, PhD (Nez Perce) retired Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies; Drs. Alison Ball (Colville) PhD.University of Oregon and Tom Ball (Klamath/Modoc), PhD., University of Oregon; Christine Lowery, PhD., (Dine) Utah; Donna Langston, PhD., University of Colorado at Denver; Hillary Weaver, PhD., Maria Tenario, PhD., Thomas Crofoot, PhD., to name a few. Further resources: see NASW and CSWE in the Social Work Research/Academic field.

    • Thanks for the additions. The bias is strictly towards the Ph.D. D.Phil. It’s just that the harder sciences (thank you for including anthropology) collect more data. ;)

  7. Anna Mays Wells — https://www.facebook.com/awellsrn
    Dr. April Lea GoForth Phd Ed. Eastern Band of Cherokee,
    Marcus Cloud Briggs Phd Divinity from Harvard Miccasukee (sp?),
    Jennifer McAlpin PHD Navajo,
    Ian Thompson PHD Choctaw
    Stacy Leeds PhD Cherokee

    ABD limbo–
    Candessa Teehee PhD candidate UKB Cherokee

  8. Natchee Blu Barnd PHD Ethnic Studies Anishinabe
    Michael Lujan Bevacqua PHD Ethnic Studies Chamorro
    Jennifer Nez Denetdale PHD History Navajo
    Waziyatawin Angela Wilson PHD History Dakota
    Andrea Smith PHD History of Consciousness Cherokee
    Philip Deloria PHD History Lakota
    Steven Crum PHD History Western Shoshone
    Reyna Ramirez PHD Anthropology Ho Chunk
    Amy Lonetree PHD Ethnic Studies Ho Chunk
    William Bauer PHD Histroy Round Valley
    Audra Simpson PHD Anthropology Mohawk
    Duane Champagne PHD Sociology Chippewa
    Theresa Gregor PHD English Santa Isabel
    Jodi Byrd PHD English Chickasaw
    Scott Richard Lyons PHD English Ojibwe
    Donald Fixico PHD History Shawnee, Sac and Fox, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole
    K. Tsianina Lomawaima PHD Anthropology Creek
    David E Wilkins PHD Political Science Lumbee
    Denise Low PHD English Lenni Lenape
    Jeff Means PHD History Lakota
    Annette Reed PHD Ethnic Studies Tolowa
    Ned Blackhawk PHD History Shoshone
    Robert Perez PHD Ethnic Studies Apache
    Mattie Harper PHD Ethnic Studies Anishinabe

    … I am just getting started

  9. Vibrina Coronado

    Wow, it’s nice to see so many STEM PhD’s. Here’s some off the top of my head, including myself
    If you’re including State recognized folks
    Dr. David E. Wilkins, Poly Sci, UMN, Lumbee
    Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, History, UNC-Chapel Hill Lumbee
    Dr. Linda E. Oxendine, History emeritus, UNC-P Lumbee
    Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, History UNC-P, Lumbee
    Dr Vibrina Coronado, Performance Studies, independent scholar, Lumbee
    Dr. Jay Hansford C Vest, Saponi-Monacan, UNC-P
    Dr David Chang, History UMN, Kanaka Maoli
    Dr. Brenda Child, History, UMN, Red Lake Ojibwe
    Dr. Brendan Fairbanks, Linguistics, Ojibwe
    Dr. David Truer, Literature (i think), UMN Leech Lake Ojibwe
    Dr. Anton Treuer, Leech Lake Ojibwe
    Dr. David Martinez, Philosophy, Arizona State
    Dr. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, U of Arizona, Creek
    Dr. Lee Anne Howe, Literature, Choctaw, UI-Champain-Urbana
    Dr. Jean O’Brien, History, UMN White Earth Ojibiwe
    I know of some others–but I’ll have to look them up. What a great project. Another resource for this is the NAISA–the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. I guess y’all aren’t counting PhEd’s?

  10. Dr. Mandy Fretts, U of Wash PHd first Nations Mik’maq
    Dr. Margaret Nelson PhD Cherokee 90 years young!

    (more from Anna Mays Wells — https://www.facebook.com/awellsrn)

  11. Dr. Ronny Bell (Lumbee), Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention, Co-Director, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Wake Forest School of Medicine

  12. At a glance, approx. 128… Doubling the original estimation. Thanks for posting results as you move forward. wondering whether the recommendations are useful and complementary to original sources of identification, iecontacting Schools with PhD programs, ai/an academic funders, ai/an academic groups, and Tribes). Importantly, what criteria is used for ai/an affiliation..since some did not identify their tribe. good luck movie forward.

    • This is strictly a fun list because the original question asked on Facebook got stuck in my head. Some of the listings that have been added include different info along with the name, thus the variation.The Survey of Earned Doctorates does have standards and I think they query universities. They won’t reveal names but I’m hoping to find out numbers. I would like to know the fields with chronology– there have been a lot of anthropology types but that has changed. Geography of upbringing would be interesting, too.

  13. Ronny Bell, PhD (Wake Forest University) – Lumbee

    ABD limbo–
    Amy Locklear Hertel – PhD candidate (UNC American Indian Center) – Coharie/Lumbee

    from https://www.facebook.com/edgarvillanueva77

  14. Dr. Barbara Riley Asher, Alaska Native

  15. Dr. Denise Dillard (AN)

  16. Lisa Rey Thomas, PhD (AN – Tlingit) at the U of WA

  17. jami bartgis cherokee; ben fine cherokee; suzanne singer navajo; sara hicks alaska native

  18. I have not seen Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne, Prof Emeritus of Native Studies at Montana State.

  19. Wilfred Denetclaw Ph.D. (Cell Biologist)

    How about a posting of an Excel file of the list with names, tribal affiliation, current position, and contact information? That will be a more useful tabulation of American Indian and Alaskan Natives with the Ph.D. degree. I recall seeing such a list from 2004.

    • I have one begun and haven’t finished it. Must do so now. However, I won’t have all the info that would be useful like you suggested. Not sure how that can be arranged. The NSF listing will not include names and current positions because of the privacy restrictions on their research. Would be nice if AISES or SACNAS could host the effort, maybe?

  20. Bernice B. Tetpon, PhD was not listed. She has her PhD in Cross-Cultural Education, UAF, 1998

  21. Kat Milligan-Myhre (Microbiology)

    There is a list of Alaskan Native PhDs floating around that was started by Ray Barnhardt of UAF…the version I have has 45 earned PhDs and 54 honorary PhDs, in fields including education, linguistics, anthropology, law, and now microbiology (myself, as of 2009!). I’d love to see a list of both Alaskan Native and American Indian PhDs. It would have been nice to know I wasn’t the first native in sciences when I was going through grad school, and even nicer if I could have contacted another Inupiaq to learn how they handled home sickness, responsibility to tribe, and other issues while they were in grad school.

  22. Dr. Phyllis Fast is a Professor of Anthropology at UAA – she is Koyukon Athabaskan, and obtained her PhD from Harvard. Dr. Rosita Worl (Tlingit) also obtained her PhD from Harvard.

  23. Gail Woodside

    Dr. Kurt Peters Ponca, Powhatten, Blackfoot Ethnic Studies Berkeley
    Dr. Mitchel Wilkinson, Osage, Education/Ethnic Studies University of Oregon
    Dr. Allison Davis White Eyes, Blackfoot, Creek, No. Cheyenne Oregon State University

  24. Gail Woodside

    I have started and almost finished. Advanced Pipeline Diversity Graduate Fellow in Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Large Landscape Ecology.
    Apache, Creek, No. Cheyenne
    Oregon State University

  25. Dr. Stacey Oberly (Southern Ute) – University of Arizona, Linguistics
    Dr. Ofelia Zepeda (Tohono O’odham) – University of Arizona, Linguistics
    Dr. Mary Willie (Diné) – University of Arizona, Linguistics
    Dr. Casey Kahn-Thornbrugh (Wampanoag) – University of Arizona

  26. Dr. Melanie Peterson-Hickey (Lac du Flambeau, Ojibwe) –University of Minnesota

  27. Dr. Stacey Oberly

    Dr. Jimmy Jefferson
    Dr. Mary Jo Tippecconic-Fox
    Dr. Sheilah Nicholas
    Dr. Mary Eunice Romero
    Dr. Manley Begay
    Dr. Karletta Chief
    Dr. Patrisia Gonzales
    Dr. Tom Holmes
    Dr. Eileen Luna Firebaugh
    Dr. Ronald L. Trosper
    Dr. Franci Washburn
    Dr. Rob Williams

  28. Dr. Loriene Roy (Anishinabe; Phd University of Illinois) – Univ. of Texas, School of Information
    Dr. Naomia Caldwell (Ramapo; PhD, University of Pittsburgh) – Alabama State University

  29. Donna Akers (Choctaw) – PhD History, UC Riverside – Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Texas-Arlington
    Michelene Pesantubbee (Choctaw) – PhD Religious Studies, UC Santa Barbara – Associate Professor in Religious Studies and American Indian Native Studies, University of Iowa
    K. D. Motes (Choctaw) – PhD History, UC Riverside – Assistant Professor in Early American History, Rockhurst University
    Joe Watkins (Choctaw) – PhD Anthropology, Southern Methodist University – Director of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
    Clara Sue Kidwell (Choctaw / White Earth Chippewa) – PhD History of Science, University of Oklahoma – Associate Dean of Program Development, Bacone College

  30. Linda Bane Frizzell

    Seems I have been left off the list: Dr. Linda Bane Frizzell, Ph.D. (eastern Cherokee/Lakota) please just “google for more info. I am currently faculty at North Dakota State University, American Indian Public Health MPH program.

  31. Blake Hausman, Cherokee; Jami Bartgis, Cherokee; Ben Fine, Cherokee; Suzanne Singer, Navajo; Kim Tallbear; Megan Bang; Dory Nason, Danika Medak-Saltzman; Darren Modzelewski Tessa Evans-Campbell; Beth Piatote

  32. Richard Meyers, (Lakota), Arizona State University – PhD in Anthropology
    Cynthia Claus (Kiowa/Mohawk), Arizona State University – PhD in Anthropology

  33. Paulette F. Molin

    Dr. Paulette Fairbanks Molin, White Earth Ojibwe

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