2018 Summer Scholars

Seth Archer is a cultural historian of North America and the Pacific Islands. His teaching areas include early America and nineteenth-century U.S., Native America, American West to 1900, environmental history, and the history of medicine. From 2015 to 2017 he was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge. His first book is Sharks upon the Land: Colonialism, Indigenous Health, and Culture in Hawaiʻi, 1778–1855 (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Victor Begay, Navajo, is faculty and coordinates the American Indian Studies program at North Idaho College. Dr. Begay’s family is originally from New Mexico, yet he holds strong connections to American Indian tribes around the country.


His major areas of interest include American Indian identity development and its affect on education policy development. More specifically, he would like to be able to effectively design curriculum and policy that best supports Indian student’s unique experiences. Having worked with many tribes in the southwest US, Dr. Begay is confident that effective policy reform is foreseeable.


Dr. Begay holds a PhD in education policy, a Master’s degree in education philosophy, was a high school classroom teacher, and has experience in tribal, state, and federal agencies. He is the youngest of six children and enjoys writing fiction and trail running.

Mathias D. Bergmann is a professor of history at Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, VA) and serves as the chair of the department. Although he resides thousands of miles away, having been raised in Oregon and completed his graduate training at Washington State University, his heart and research are still in the Northwest. Teaching at a small liberal arts college, Professor Bergmann offers a wide array of courses that include early U.S. history, surveys of Latin American and European history, Native American history, and geographical history. Drawn to the Native American and European encounters and cultural interaction, Professor Bergmann trained in early American history for his Ph.D., but for the last decade his research has shifted to the nineteenth century and back to the Northwest. He has published articles on the centrality of Oregon Indians to Euro-American settlement, on the federal Indian agent Robert H. Milroy and federal Indian policies, and on Native cultural geography. He has contracted with Oregon State University Press for his current book project that offers an ethnohistory of the Northwest Natives during the nineteenth century.

Anna Booker: My background is in both public- and private-sector history, including twenty years of teaching community college students in Oakland, CA and Bellingham, WA. I received my BA from UC-Santa Cruz and an MA from the University of Montana. My research interests focus on Western Environmental History and community, place-based education, including a current digital history project on the transformation of Bellingham Bay over the last 150 years.  Before moving to Bellingham, I worked as a consultant on historical land use operations for PHR Environmental in San Francisco. I have received grants for my teaching and research from the NEH, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the BNSF Railway Foundation.

Outside of work, you’ll see me running on the Bellingham trails or cross-country skiing in the winter. Having grown up in sunny Southern California, it’s been a process adjusting to the far northwest climate and short days. I find getting outside – rain, sleet or snow – is crucial to my mental health. When possible, I head south with family to Mexico to get my quotient of “photon overload” and practice Spanish. My other coping strategy is to cozy up with indoor hobbies – knitting, baking, and many hours at the local bookstore, where my husband and I enjoy perusing the history and naturalist guidebook sections. Day-to-day, we stay busy keeping up with our teen son (16) and daughter (13).

One last thing, I’m enrolled in an intro to French class for our upcoming to trip to Provence, so let me know if you “parler Francais”! I look forward to learning with everyone in June.

Ryan Booth is a PhD student in the history of the American West focusing on Native Americans and their interactions with the U.S. military. Booth’s dissertation explores the history of the U.S. Indian Scouts from 1866 to 1942 in the American West and its imperial implications at the turn of the twentieth-century. He holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago (BA 2001, cum laude) and Central Washington University (MA 2011). Booth worked previously for the Society of Jesus Oregon Province, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and for Heritage University as a history instructor. He was a WSU Research Assistant for Diverse Scholars in 2016-2017. In 2015, Washington Governor Jay Inslee appointed Booth to the Humanities Washington Board of Trustees for a three-year term ending in 2018. Ryan originally hails from the Skagit Valley of Washington, but most recently resided in Wenatchee. With deep Northwest roots, Ryan claims both Upper Skagit Tribal membership and Oregon Trail pioneer ancestry. Ryan enjoys time spent with family and friends, watching artsy films, eating good food, hiking, and camping.

Renata Ryan Burchfield (Cherokee Nation) is currently a Ph.D. Student at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a Master’s degree in Literature and Cultural theory with an emphasis in Indigenous Film and New Media, from the University of Oklahoma. Her undergraduate degree from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville was also in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Her work focuses on Process and Performative sovereignties (a term she developed during her Master’s) within Indigenous creative cultural production. For Renata, Indigenous studies is inherently an interdisciplinary undertaking and so her research is at the crossroads of literary theory, critical cultural theory, ethnic studies, film, new media, visual culture, eco-criticism, transnational Indigeneity, Indigenous futurisms and sound studies. Her overall dissertation project is concerned with how Indigeneity and Indigenous sovereignty are expressed through “entangled technologies” and how this lends itself to real world effects for Indigenous communities. Outside of her academic pursuits, Renata is very involved with her tribal community through the Cherokee Heritage Center. She has spent the last ten years donating her time to the the Heritage Center’s outreach program, which takes traditional Indigenous knowledge, skills, games, history, and language, into the schools within the Cherokee Nation, to educate and change the reality on the ground for Cherokees and non-Cherokees alike. She is also an aspiring futurist writer herself, although at the moment, academic writing takes precedence. Her poetry has been published within Cherokee Writers from the Flint Hills of Oklahoma: An Anthology.

Brittany Davis: I’m currently a postdoc at Regis University, a Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado, where my position focuses on environmental justice. Practically speaking, this means I teach courses for the Peace and Justice Studies Department and the environmental science/studies program. My academic career has followed a bit of an interesting path (I’m currently on leave from a tenure-track job to do this postdoc) and my discipline—geography—is one which borrows from any and every discipline it can. I applied to this seminar because of a developing and deepening interest in indigenous peoples of the Americas, their environmental knowledge and practices, and how these could or might align with environmental justice, anti-racism, and feminism. 


I have an eclectic set of interests outside of work. I’m completely fascinated by reality TV shows on the Discovery Channel, particularly Naked and Afraidand Alaska: The Last Frontier, in part because I think they tell us a lot about our changing relationship with and attitudes toward nature. My hobbies include scuba diving, trying new craft beers (moving to Denver last year has been great for this!), and group fitness classes. I also enjoy watching and teaching about sports (especially the Olympics) and listening to Broadway musicals. I saw Hamiltonon Broadway in March and was absolutely blown away. I’m looking forward to finding some folks to watch World Cup matches with during our downtime.

Noah Eber-Schmid: I am a visiting assistant professor of political science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I completed a Ph.D. in political science at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where I specialized in political theory and international relations. Prior to coming to Bucknell, I previously worked at Rutgers University and Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. As an educator, I regularly teach undergraduate courses on American political thought, contemporary political theory, democratic theory, and modern European political thought. In the fall of 2018, I will join the department of political science at the University of Oregon as a faculty fellow.


As a political theorist, I specialize in contemporary democratic theory and the history of Anglo-American political thought, with a focus on issues of citizenship and political extremism in the history of American political thought and the contemporary United States. Much of my work takes the form of historically-situated democratic theory that combines contemporary normative political theory with a historical orientation. This approach aims to enhance the study of democratic theory and practice through careful attention to historical actors engaged in confrontational and controversial practices that contest and upset the limits and conventional understandings of democracy. Combining historically-situated democratic theory, conceptual history, and critical approaches to the development of American political thought, my ongoing research agenda broadly examines how extremism and political violence have shaped the practice of democratic politics in American political history, as well as the normative theoretical question of what role a democratic politics shaped by extremism plays in the democratic life of the American polity. Currently, I am revising a book manuscript that focuses on democratic extremism during the American Founding period (1770-1800) as a way of reexamining the development of popular democracy, citizenship, and political practice in the United States.

Terilee Edwards-Hewitt teaches anthropology as an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland and for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) at their Shady Grove campus. Her research interests include the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity in the archaeological and historic record during the 18 th and 19 th centuries in the US and how issues such as gender, ethnicity and disability are represented in modern US culture through the use of popular and social media. In addition to teaching, she also works for the municipal archaeology program and museum Alexandria Archaeology, where she is involved with collections management, education programs and is the oral history coordinator for the Office of Historic Alexandria, in Alexandria, Virginia. Terilee has lived in several locations throughout the United States and this has shaped her interests and perspectives about history and culture. An article about the Immigrant Alexandria Oral History project is currently under review.

Laura Ferguson: I’m the Curator of Western History at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. It is an interdisciplinary museum, located on 135 acres, which interprets the intermountain west. Most recently, I’ve curated exhibitions on World War II in the High Desert and the history of mountaineering and rock climbing. We’re currently in the early stages of renovating our permanent exhibition on Plateau Indian history and culture. I also serve as member of the Oregon Heritage ommission and on the Oregon Historical Quarterly board. 

Prior to joining the museum almost three years ago, I spent two years at Whitman College as a visiting assistant professor. I received my doctorate from the University of Michigan. My dissertation examined the environmental and cultural history of San Francisco during the nineteenth century. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and love trail running, cross country skiing, exploring new cities and going to museums. 

Kathleen Fry earned her BA in English at Walla Walla College, before completing her MA in American Studies and PhD in American History (both at Washington State University). Her research interests are race, labor, and immigration in the American West and her current project

examines the role that Japanese immigrants played in creating and sustaining a trans-Pacific oyster trade between Japan and the U.S in the interwar period. For the last six years she has taught in the Roots of Contemporary Issues (RCI) Program in the Department of History at WSU. RCI is a first-year, required course of all WSU students, and takes a thematic and global historical approach as it introduces students to critical thinking, information literacy, and communication, and asks them to make connections between the past and the present. She teaches the course as “The U.S. West in the World” but hopes this summer institute will allow her to replace the U.S. West focus with the Columbia Plateau more specifically, allowing her to move from the local to the global in a more concrete fashion.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is Policy Director, Senior ResearchAssociate, and faculty at the Center for World Indigenous Studies, is formerly a contributor and columnist at Indian Country Media Network, and teaches American Indian Studies at Cal StateSan Marcos. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including awards from the NativeAmerican Journalists Association. Her research interests focuses on Indigenous nationalism, self-determination, environmental justice, and education. For the past several years she has been involved with Indigenous peoples’ participation in the United Nations arena. She also works within the field of critical sports studies, examining the intersections of indigeneity and the sport of surfing.


Dina often works with Native youth in programs related to cultural knowledge, sports, health and wellness, and activism. In 2016 she published her first book along with coauthor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,“All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans (Beacon Press). This hard- hitting book shatters the most prevalent and pernicious myths and stereotypes that are embedded in the American cultural landscape. It has been critically acclaimed by the likes of Time.com, Salon.com, the Boston Globe, Mic.com, History News Network, and Truthout, and has been featured on CSPAN Book Talk, Native America Calling, the Brian Lehrer Show, Democracy Now, the Tavis Smiley Show and more. Dina is currently under contract for her next book with Beacon Press, tentatively titled "As Long as Grass Shall Grow: Settler Colonialism, Standing Rock, and the Fight for Environmental Justice in Indian Country." 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dina is an urban Indian whose Colville mother came to LA during the termination years. She currently lives in San Clemente, Ca. Visit her website at www.dinagwhitaker.wordpress.com; on Twitter at @DinaGWhit, and on Facebook.

Kathleen Godfrey is a professor of English at Fresno State, one of the California State University campuses. At Fresno State, Kathleen teaches American Indian literature and courses in English education—and she is chair elect of the English department. A graduate of Arizona State University, Kathleen has published several articles on American Indian literature and white women’s representations of Native peoples. Her most recent work has been a digital humanities project focused on Julia Pastrana, an indigenous Mexican woman who performed throughout the eastern U.S. and Europe during the 1850s. She was also the Fulbright Roving Scholar in Norway during the 2008-2009 academic year. Based in Oslo, Kathleen traveled all over Norway giving workshops to high school students and teachers on American culture and education. Her presentations included such topics as the 2008 Presidential Election, Literature of Immigration, and American Indian Literature.

Rebecca Gordon is a lecturer of English and Cinema Studies at Northern Arizona University, arriving there after spending a year in Nicaragua as a Fulbright Scholar. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses in world cinema, cinema and literature, multiethnic US literature, and special topics film courses, as well as graduate courses in world authors, literary theory, and Chicanx/Latinx Literature. Her research examines motion and embodiment in the media, broadly conceived. In part, her work looks at how audiences’ affective or emotional responses to film and television aesthetics shape new modes of spectatorship. Trained in American Studies, English, and Film Studies, Rebecca earned a combined PhD from Indiana University and a BA in English, History, and Humanities from Stanford. She previously worked at Reed College and Oberlin College. 


At this summer’s NEH institute, Rebecca hopes to learn ways of approaching the Native American West and the Columbia River Plateau in ways that can help her and colleagues at NAU shape a new interdisciplinary place-based minor in Studies of the American West and Colorado Plateau that includes humanities, Applied Indigenous Studies, social science, and conservation science approaches. This project will hopefully be funded through an NEH Humanities Connections Planning Grant. She’s also deeply happy to be in the Pacific Northwest (Walla Walla and the Blue Mountains of Oregon are favorite spots; Keizer, Oregon is home).


Last summer she attended the 2017 NEH summer institute, “On Native Grounds: Native American Ethnohistory,” in Washington, D.C. While looking through papers at the Library of Congress, she learned about connections between the actor Vincent Price and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. She needs to follow up on this, partly because she is being badgered by a journal editor to write about what she found.

Kristin Hargrove is a San Diego native who has lived and traveled all over the world. She attended the University of Notre Dame and Cal State Fullerton, earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees in American Studies. Since then, she has taught U.S. history, California history, American Studies, and sociology courses at the community and state college level and has worked as an instructional design consultant, advocating best practices in online instruction.

Her professional development includes an additional M.A. in Educational Technology and A.A. degrees in Hawaiian, Chicana/o, and Kumeyaay Studies, as well as certificates in American Indian Studies and a program in Tribal Gaming through San Diego State University. She is presently completing coursework in Baja California Studies to incorporate additional transnational/borderland content into her instruction. Future projects include an examination of how native cultures are choosing (or not choosing) to create digital content in order to preserve cultural practices and historical legacies for the future.

Jill McCabe Johnson is the author of the poetry collections Revolutions We'd Hoped We'd Outgrown, and Diary of the One Swelling Sea, winner of a Nautilus Book Award in Poetry, plus the nonfiction chapbook, Borderlines, and the poetry chapbook, Pendulum. She is series editor for the Being What Makes You anthologies from the University of Nebraska Gender Programs, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman and Being: What Makes a Man. Honors include an Artist Trust grant, an Academy of American Poets Award, the Deborah Tall Memorial Fellowship from Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing, and the Louise Van Sickle Fellowship in Poetry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she earned her PhD in English and a certification in Nineteenth Century Studies. Jill is the founding director of Artsmith, a non-profit to support the arts, and teaches English and Creative Writing for Skagit Valley College where she makes her home in Washington State's San Juan Islands.

Loreen Keller was born and raised in Washington State. Her paternal great-grandparents (Orville & Deborah Kellogg) homesteaded in Tonasket at the turn of the 20th century, and family stories and pictures from this era sparked a strong interest in the NEH New American West seminar. She is delighted to have been selected.


Since July 2017 Lori has served as Dean of Arts & Sciences at Wenatchee Valley College, withcampuses in Wenatchee and Omak. WVC has built the foundations of an American Indian (& Indigenous) Studies program, designed to transfer to the University of Washington’s AIS major in the College of Arts & Sciences. The college hopes for similar opportunities in AIS with Washington State University, Gonzaga, Evergreen and regional universities, as well as alignment with community and technical colleges in Washington State. WVC is in process of hiring its first full time, tenure track AIS faculty member for its Omak campus this summer. 


Prior to her arrival at WVC, Lori served as Associate and Interim Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois. There, she was a former adjunct instructor of philosophy and English composition. As Associate Dean, Lori oversaw the hiring, evaluation, and support of adjunct professors. It led to a genuine interest in her research topic and eventual Ed.D. dissertation: "Adjunct Faculty Engagement: Connections in Pursuit of Student Success in Community Colleges." She earned her degree in 2015 from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Earlier in Lori’s academic life, she received a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and English from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and College of Arts & Sciences.

Tracy Lai is a tenured historian at Seattle Central College. As her first teaching assignment, she taught the Asian American portion (25%) of the History of American Minorities, while also selling ads for the International Examiner (IE) under editor Ron Chew. Tracy volunteered as one of the first group of Densho interviewers, and later she applied the Densho training and philosophy to several Seattle Central collaborations with Tina Young: “Critical Moments” and “Untold Success Stories” based on Seattle Central student experiences. As a scholar activist Tracy serves as Vice President for Human Rights, American Federation of Teachers, Washington (AFT Washington); National Secretary of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA); and Vice President of Seattle APALA. Tracy’s scholarship includes co-authoring a book with Michael Liu and Kim Geron, The Snake Dance of Asian American Activism: Community, Vision and Power, an analysis of the Asian American movement.


In "The Native American West," Tracy plans to deeply revise and de-center her Pacific Northwest History course (HIST 214) and U.S. History survey (2-quarter sequence) courses. She is planning to co-teach with Art Historian Melanie King a 10-credit learning community that includes Pacific Northwest History, Northwest Native American Art, HUM 105 Intercultural Communications and one other course yet to be determined. Melanie contributed to the Evergreen State College’s Native Case Studies. Having recently attended a workshop on Open Educational Resources (and Pedagogy) at Seattle Central, Tracy is interested in what OER may have available to support Native American perspectives and research. One of the issues brought up in the workshop was about supporting independent and community publications and that the internet is not as inclusive as one might assume.

Tamara Levi: Originally from Florida, I received my BA from Lees-McRae College, MA from Appalachia State University, and Ph.D. from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  I currently teach early US history, American West, and Native American history at Jacksonville State University in northeast Alabama, where I will be promoted to full Professor in October.  My book, Food, Control, and Resistance, was published in 2016.  I am also involved with an interdisciplinary group of professors working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to create curriculum for a course entitled Stewardship of Public Lands, which utilizes Yellowstone National Park as a can study for using democratic principles to negotiate conflict between different stakeholders. 


I have been part of a program on my campus focused on developing classroom methodologies that encourage critical thinking and active learning.  I continue to look for more, and better, ways to integrate primary sources and material culture into my classes.  I attended the NEH institute On Native Ground two years ago, and am looking forward to participating in this one (and my first trip to Washington) as well.

Darlene Pagán: I was born in Chicago, Illinois to a Puerto Rican father, who found his way to the mainland through the Vietnam War, and a mother of German descent whose family were farmers. My early education focused on social work but after several years at a crisis unit, and later, a substance abuse unit, I took a detour to study English. I earned an MA in 1994 that focused on creative writing, and in 1995, moved to Dallas, Texas, to earn a PhD in the Humanities in four teaching fields: feminist ethics, multi-cultural literature, poetics, and translation. That followed with a summer in Guanajuato, Mexico, where I studied history and literature. My academic work included translating Mexican poetry into English and writing about feminist theory and ethnic women authors. In 2001, I moved to Oregon after landing my first full time teaching position at Pacific University, where I met her husband, and eventually had two sons.


My creative and scholarly work is all over the map but, I like to think, interrelated. I’ve published two books of poems, Blue Ghosts (2011) and Setting the Fires (2015). I’ve published essays as well, and recently completed a draft of a memoir, The Safest Place to Fall, after struggling with a sick baby who was eventually diagnosed with a rare inflammatory disease in which his body cannot process food.


My interest in Native American Literature has followed me through my education and through a rare opportunity I had to study the Pueblos Indians with a Jemez Pueblo man and scholar named Joe Sando at the University of New Mexico. I have always tried to integrate the work of Native American writers throughout my courses, but more particularly through Native American Literature. I am thrilled to be attending the institute to be immersed in the stories, literature, and history of this region.

Steven Petersheim is Associate Professor of English and Honors Program Director at Indiana University East in the Whitewater Valley region of eastern Indiana and western Ohio. Petersheim teaches environmental literature, nineteenth-century American literature, and ethnic American literature, as well as courses in writing and thinking. He has published articles, book chapters, and more, co-editing a book on nineteenth-century environmental literature (Writing the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Ecological Awareness of Early Scribes of Nature, Lexington Books, 2015). His interest in Native American literature stems from his Shawnee background and his research in nineteenth-century American history as well as literature. In Belarus on a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant in Fall 2017, Petersheim lectured on the Native American Renaissance as well as Environmental literature and taught American film and literature to Eastern European students and others at Belarusian State University. By focusing on the Native American Northwest, he hopes to fill a regional gap in his knowledge of Native American history and literature.

Kimberly Richards

Michael Rozendal is an Associate Professor in the Rhetoric and Language Department and Academic Director of the Undergraduate Teacher Education Center at the University of San Francisco. His research focuses on activist and creative communities, engaged pedagogy, and the intersections of print culture, politics, and aesthetics. 


Michael's teaching interests include rhetoric, composition, public speaking, cultural movements, print culture, digital humanities, modernist studies, Twentieth-century literature, working-class literature, postmodernism, materialist theory, and regionalism. His work with engaged pedagogy informed his co-direction of the Erasmus Living-Learning Community, a year-long seminar bridging ethics, service learning in local communities, and international perspectives culminating in summer experience in Cambodia.

James Seelye: Hello from Ohio. I’m originally from Michigan, but I’ve lived here since 2004, although not nearly long enough to like Ohio State. I’m a blue-collar academic; my dad is a retired police officer, and my mom has worked at a nursing home for nearly 30 years. I knew that I wanted to teach from an early age, and one of my high school history teachers, Nancy Walters (who is that one teacher that we all have) made me respect and understand history as a discipline. I discovered that I wanted to teach history at the college level while at Northern Michigan University, and in order to do that, I knew I needed a Ph.D., so I went to the University of Toledo to study with Alfred Cave, and I earned my MA and Ph.D.


I’ve been fortunate enough to publish a few articles, two edited collections, and a book with Michigan State University Press, as well as a forthcoming 3-volume encyclopedia and primary source collection on early American history (friends, when approached to do something like this, just say no.  It might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. Trust me). Beyond the academic stuff (Associate Professor at Kent State University at Stark), I’m an active Freemason, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Canton, and a father to two insanely beautiful daughters, Abby and Audrey (19 months apart – seemed like a good idea at the time). I love classic rock and going to concerts, and I look forward to seeing Fleetwood Mac (by far my favorite), and The Pretenders later this summer. I’m also quite terrible at tennis, but I love playing, so if any of you see this before we gather, and want to bring your racquet, let me know.  

Jason Selwitz is the faculty lead for the Energy Systems Technology degree program at Walla Walla Community College (WWCC). In this role, he teaches 9-10 energy and water courses per year, coordinates with the energy faculty, and helps manage the HVACR and Welding programs. He also works with the Facilities Department on campus-oriented renewable energy management and sustainability projects. Jason is on the Faculty Senate, the Sustainability Committee, coordinates the Energy program’s advisory board, and participates on the water technologies and management, and the enology and viticulture, advisory boards. Jason started at WWCC in January 2012 as a project manager with the Agriculture Center of Excellence. Jason and his wife Rebecca moved to Walla Walla from the Seattle area. Rebecca also teaches at WWCC in the parent education program. With two boys in tow, once summer arrives, they enjoy hiking, camping, and swimming throughout the Columbia Plateau, Cascades, Wallowas, and Olympics. 


From 2005-2012, Jason was a field  and lab technician for a water district, a site sustainability educator, and the program manager for a non-profit that helped develop renewable energy and water projects with rural farming communities in eastern Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. From 1995-2005, Jason was a wilderness guide and counselor – and lived more days per year outdoors than he did inside a dwelling. He served in the Philippines with the Peace Corps from 1998-2000. Before that he completed a 6-month teaching practicum in British Columbia with a high school semester program focused on the integration of First Nations studies and living skills, outdoor sports/physical education, Fine Arts, English, and Earth Science. 


Jason earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Science from Washington State University focused on curriculum development and assessment of applied chemical/biological systems engineering programs at the associate degree level. He completed his MS in Regenerative Studies from Cal Poly Pomona focused on the nexus between wastewater treatment and bioenergy. He has a B.S. from Penn State where he focused on natural history interpretation and program leadership.

Blake Slonecker is the Ted Robertson Chair of Humanities and Associate Professor of History at Heritage University in Toppenish, Washington. Heritage is located on the southern reaches of the Columbia Plateau and in the homeland of the Yakama Nation.


Slonecker hopes that the Native American West program will help him better incorporate the history of the Plateau region across the Heritage curriculum—for Native and non-Native students, in general-education and program-specific coursework. At the Institute, he plans to redesign reading lists, units, and assignments in advanced courses on Native American and Pacific Northwest history, along with introductory surveys on the American people. In addition, he is interested in examining how indigenous ways of knowing, cultural productions, and oral traditions might inform how he teaches and in better understanding the role of the region’s boarding schools as tools of cultural genocide and historical trauma. Because he will be taking his learning back to the Yakama Nation context, he hopes that his participation will inform how the history of the Columbia Plateau is taught within the region itself.


As a historian of twentieth century American social movements, Slonecker’s research explores how movement culture shapes the political achievements and personal lives of activists. His book, A New Dawn for the New Left: Liberation News Service, Montague Farm, and the Long Sixties, examines the interstices between sexual liberation, counterculture, antinuclear activism, and alternative media to trace how the utopian impulses of the late 1960s reshaped American political culture during the 1970s. He is currently at work on a book about the interaction between the women’s liberation movement and the underground press in the Pacific Northwest to better understand how second-wave feminism reshaped activist organizational cultures after 1968. His work appears in the Journal of Social History, Pacific Historical Review, The Sixties, and Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. In addition, he co-edits The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.

Kathleen Whiteley: I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan. My research and teaching interests include Native American history in the west, California history and indigenous space and place. My dissertation is tentatively titled, “The Indians of California versus The United States of America: California Dreaming in the Land of Lost Treaties 1905-1975.” My project is interested in exploring 20th century California Indian land claims and identity formation.


I am Wiyot and I was born and raised in Eureka, CA. I completed my undergraduate degree in Native American Studies at UC Berkeley. While at Michigan I have participated as one of the co-coordinators for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Interdisciplinary Group.  I am very excited to have the opportunity to attend to this program and learn from the institutes indigenous methodology, outreach programming and curriculum! After the institute I plan to stay in Washington for one week an visit with my brother who is in the Navy and stationed in Bremerton.

Deborah Williams is a Professor and Chair of the Environmental Science Department at Johnson County Community College (JCCC), where she teaches a variety of courses, including Environmental Science Lecture and Laboratory, Principles of Biology, Natural History of Kansas Bioethics and Principles of Sustainability. Deborah also teaches Ethics, Philosophy and Environmental Policy and Law for the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Division. Deborah co-leads a popular annual staff development tour of the Flint Hills and gives frequent community lectures on sustainability, environmental science and Kansas prairie ecology. She also serves at the College Now Liaison for Biology and Environmental Science and holds an elected position on the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA)  Board of Directors as the Higher Education Representative.


Williams received a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Animal Science and Industry from Kansas State University (KSU). Her graduate degrees include a Juris Doctor from the KU School of Law, with two certificates, one in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and the other in Tribal Law, a M.S. in Student Counseling and Personnel Services, a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, both from KSU, a M.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a M.A. in Philosophy, both from KU, and she is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Anthropology and a M.A. in Indigenous Studies at KU. Her research interests include examining barriers to Native American persistence in STEM disciplines, Indigenous ways of knowing, environmental justice, and applied ethics (particularly environmental and bioethics).  Deborah has won numerous teaching and service awards and has served as a past president of the JCCC Faculty Association. She regularly serves as the lead negotiator for faculty in contract negotiations with the JCCC Board of Trustees.

Barbara Williamson: After having dropped out of high school, I became a first generation college student and a proud community college graduate, receiving my A.A. degree from Western Nevada Community College. After that, I earned a B.A. and an M.A. in English at the University of Nevada (go Wolf Pack!). After receiving my degrees, I taught at UNR as well as at surrounding community colleges. Wanting still more education, I went to the University of Nebraska (go Huskers!) where I earned a Ph.D. with a triple emphasis: English with an emphasis in Popular Culture, specifically film (I'm a fool for really bad Hollywood action movies), women's literature, and 20th century American and Canadian literatures. After teaching at UNL, I knew I wanted to return to community college and to the west. When a job opened at Spokane Falls Community College in 1997 for an American Lit specialist, I applied, and to my surprise, they hired me.


I believe teaching at a community college is an act of revolution, that my students are incredibly brave and intelligent and will someday take over the world, and that literature and film, which teach us how to be human, are forces for good in an often troubled world. In my spare time, I love to read, watch movies, cheer on my favorite college football teams, play board games with friends, and go out to eat. I teach mostly Introduction to Cultural Studies and American literature 1865-present, although I also teach film, women's literature, introduction to literature, and composition. I love what I do, and I expect my students to be as passionate about their education as I am. I am thrilled to be included in the Native American West Summer Institute for two reasons: First, because I teach on lands stolen from the Indigenous people we will be studying, I am looking forward to being able to better articulate their stories to my students. When I teach American Literature, I focus on the stories that shape the American narrative, and these First Nation stories are so critical. To teach these stories well, I need a deeper understanding of them; I’m excited the Institute can help me explore that. Second, and perhaps more selfishly, I am ¼ Choctaw by birth but was adopted away from that tradition. I have been working to hear the voice of my Native grandmother more fully, and this seems one more way to help do that.