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Distinguished Scholars

Distinguished Faculty


Patricia Dixon (Luiseño) has over forty years’ experience working with tribal nations in Southern California. Dixon co-founded, developed and sustained one of the oldest America Indian Studies departments in the United States. She will serve as a subject matter expert (SME) representing tribal communities providing local tribal perspectives to academic content.


Theresa Gregor, Ph.D. (Iipay) will provide organizational and institutional support. Dr. Gregor’s teaching and research focus on language preservation and revitalization, providing an added dimension to the project’s interdisciplinary focus. Dr. Gregor has been involved in the Task Force to create the AIS Department and serves as a research associate to the CICSC.


Devon Mihesuah, Ph.D. (Choctaw) is the current Cora Beers Endowed Scholar at The University of Kansas. She is an internationally recognized scholar in indigenous epistemologies and has a rich and layered background in AIS studies and history. She is also an author of fiction; her most recent novel is Grand Canyon Rescue: A Tuli Black Wolf Adventure. Dr. Mihesuah will provide the workshop overview, examining the fundamentals of native epistemologies.


Janine Pease, Ed.D. (Crow) is a nationally recognized AIS scholar whose work on language and cultural retention strategies has reshaped the delivery of AI/AN curricula. Dr. Pease will work with faculty and community members to incorporate place-based pedagogy through the development of learning objects appropriate to the course content as faculty develop these four new courses.


Joely Proudfit, Ph.D. (Luiseño) currently serves as the department chair of AIS; she will provide intellectural leadership and manage operational details. Dr. Proudfit is the founder of the California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival and teaches courses in American Indian Studies on film, digital media, women, and economic and political development. Dr. Proudfit works closely with the California Indian Museum and Cultura Center (CIMCC) on educational projects for AI youth throughout the state and is currently editing a series of books on Indian education entitled On Indian Ground. The first book specifically looks at educational best practices in California.


Stan Rodriguez (Kumeyaay) will serve as a subject matter expert (SME). Mr. Rodriguez is a Kumyaay bird singer from the Santa Ysabel reservation; he speaks Kumyaay fluently and translates it into English for incorporation into educational activities for tribal youth. The SMEs will assure that regional content in course offerings reflects an authentic voice.


Michael Wilson, Ph.D. (Choctaw) is recognized nationally and internationally for his scholarship in indigenous literatures of North America and postcolonial theory and indigenous literatures. Dr. Wilson will work with faculty and community members by providing strategies for incorporation of tribal perspectives in literature.