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ASU welcomes 5 new American Indian Scholars to faculty

Robert Miller
August 28, 2013

Five American Indian scholars in the fields of law, social transformation, American Indian studies, and social and family dynamics have joined the faculty of Arizona State University.

ASU President Michael M. Crow called these appointments further examples of the university’s commitment to diversity and access, and ASU’s recognition of its place and social responsibilities.

“As I said in my inaugural speech eleven years ago, Arizona State University will gather and empower a large cohort of scholars focused on American Indian culture and social and economic issues,” Crow said. “The presence of a critical mass of scholars encourages constructive dialogue and the evolution of a given sphere of inquiry. It is all the more essential in a developing field such as American Indian Studies.

“We will encourage scholars from a spectrum of disciplines to offer different perspectives. Teaching and research related to American Indian culture has been underway at Arizona State University for decades, but the American Indian Initiative is proving transformational in the development of the field and confirms the university’s commitment to programs that are socially relevant.”

Appointed to the ASU faculty are:

Professor Robert J. Miller joins the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law from the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore.  Miller, an Eastern Shawnee tribal citizen, will teach civil procedure, Indian law classes and a new class focusing on economic development for tribal nations and Indian peoples. He has taught and practiced American Indian law since 1993 and was a part-time tribal judge for Pacific Northwest tribes and the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals for the Grand Ronde Tribe. He has written dozens of articles, books, editorials and book chapters on Indian law issues, and has spoken at federal, state and private conferences in more than 31 states and in England, Canada, Australia and India. 

Professor K. Tsianina Lomawaima joins the School of Social Transformation from the University of Arizona. Her teaching interests include U.S. Indian policy history, indigenous knowledge systems and research issues in American Indian education. She has earned numerous awards for her books and teaching, including an outstanding book award from the American Educational Research Association for the book, “To Remain an Indian.” Her research interests include the status of Native people as U.S. citizens and Native nations as indigenous sovereigns, the role of Native nations in forging and fracturing U.S. federalism and the history of American Indian education. Lomawaima, of Mvskoke descent, earned her doctoral degree from Stanford University in anthropology.

Tennille L. Marley, an American Indian Studies assistant professor, will teach Introduction to American Indian Studies. Her areas of expertise include American Indian health and health policy, sociology of health, sociology of American Indians and qualitative research methods. Marley, a member of the White Mountain Apache tribe, earned her doctorate in sociology from the University of New Mexico and has worked as a research program coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Albuquerque, N.M. and Chinle, Ariz., and as a research assistant for many health projects focusing on Native Americans.

Michelle Hale joins the American Indian Studies program as an assistant professor and will teach Tribal Governance, Federal Indian Policy and Introduction to American Indian Studies. Her expertise is in tribal governance and leadership, public policy, economic development and the Navajo government. As a post-doctoral fellow at ASU, she taught Tribal Governance and Introduction to American Indian Studies courses after earning her doctoral degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. In 2008, Hale established a community leadership program for indigenous youth at the Cook Leadership School in Tempe. She is Laguna, Ojibwe, Odawa and a citizen of the Navajo Nation.

Monica Tsethlikai, assistant professor, joins the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics from the University of Utah. She will teach statistics and courses on child development. Her research has explored cultural and contextual factors that affect executive function development and memory processes in middle childhood and early adolescence with a primary goal of understanding how to promote positive developmental outcomes for all children. Her work includes mainstream children, with an emphasis on American Indian child development. She earned her doctoral degree in cognitive psychology from the University of Kansas and is an enrolled member of the Zuni people of New Mexico.

“These new faculty,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips, “become part of a cohort of scholars who have already positioned ASU as a leading academic institution in matters related to American Indian culture and its implication in the context of the broader American culture. They will continue to expand our scholarly expertise in critical intellectual areas, as well as provide our students with a vast array of knowledge and experience.”

They join such notables as:

• Rebecca Tsosie, ASU Regents’ Professor, the Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar in ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, former executive director of the Indian Legal Program and the author of more than 40 law review articles and book chapters.

• Professor John Tippeconnic, director of the American Indian Studies program, who is recognized as one of the most “influential people in American Indian/Alaska Native education.”

• Simon Ortiz, ASU Regents’ Professor of English and American Indian Studies, who has been recognized internationally for his poetry.

• Eddie Brown, American Indian Studies professor and executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute, who has worked at the highest administrative levels with federal, state and tribal governments.

• James Riding In, American Indian sSudies professor and editor of the Wicazo Sa Review Journal.

• Bryan Brayboy, Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice, from the School of Social Transformation.

• Donald Fixico, Distinguished Foundation Professor of History and author of 12 books focusing in American Indians, oral history and the U.S. West.

“Our newest faculty members have the expertise to further expand ASU’s course offerings in the areas of indigenous and American Indian policy. Their contributions and experiences will benefit our ASU students and programs immensely,” said Diane Humetewa, special advisor to the president for American Indian affairs..