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It's our people who make the program

If you asked the many alumni of the American Indian Studies program, they would tell you that since its inception in the 1970's, it has been the faculty who have made this program as special as it is. Students develop deep and lasting relationships with the instructors, they return frequently to campus for events or just to visit, and they maintain bonds that last a lifetime. Perhaps because this is such a deeply personal and transformative learning process, American Indian Studies truly is a family.

Outstanding teaching and strong mentorship from American Indian Studies faculty members prepared me well for the rigors of graduate school and professional life.

JP Leary, assistant professor, UW-Green Bay
Debra Barker
  • Ph. D. Ball State University (English)
  • M.A. University of Missouri-Columbia (English)
  • B. S. Ball State University (English)
Teaching Interests
  • American Indian Literatures
  • Applied Indigenous Studies
  • Decolonial Studies
  • Lakota Literature
Research Interests
  • Decolonial Studies
  • Lakota Literatures
  • The Literary Production of Louise Erdrich

Debra K. S. Barker is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Nation) and Professor of English and American Indian Studies. Her courses include introductory and advanced courses in American Indian Literatures and Applied Indigenous Studies. 

Joining UW-Eau Claire in 1993, she drafted curriculum for the American Indian Studies core courses and chaired the American Indian Studies Committee, later serving as co-director of the fledgling American Indian Studies Program in 1996. In 2011 she returned to American Indian Studies to serve as Program Director.    

Modern American Indian writers (particularly Lakota writers, past and present), the representation of American Indians in Euramerican culture, Decolonial Studies, and the literary production of Ojibwe writer Louise Erdrich run along the spectrum of her research interests. Her publications include articles on the Indian boarding school system, Lakota women's life writings, and the fiction of Louise Erdrich. At present, she is nurturing a book project on Lakota writers from Rosebud.  
Her conference papers have addressed not only literary works by American Indians but also topics that support anti-racist pedagogies and education for social justice. A particular theme of her work has addressed the political and moral necessity of Act 31 compliance to ensure that throughout their public school education Wisconsin youth grow into a broader understanding about the history and cultures of Wisconsin Indians. To a certain extent, she sees her work in the classroom as a type of quiet activism in which she not only relates course content but also seeks to develop within her students their capacity as empathic, culturally-competent citizens of the world.  
Her service in the broader area of Native literary studies includes her term as President of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures, Delegate Assembly Member in the Modern Language Association (MLA) representing Ethnic Studies, member of the MLA committee on Native American Languages, and MLA's Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada. The UW-Eau Claire American Ethnic Coordinating Office presented her with a Distinguished Service Award in 2001. Ten years later the Office of Multicultural Affairs recognized her work with a Distinguished Service Award. In 2011, she was presented with a University of Wisconsin System “Outstanding Woman of Color in Education” Award.  
Her passions include traveling the world, cooking, and reading with a grateful heart.

Ari Anand
  • Ph.D., University of Arizona (Anthropology)
  • M.A., University of Arizona (Comparative Cultural &Literary Studies)
  • A.B., Hope College (History)
Teaching Interests
  • ANTH/AIS 161: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 315/515: Language in Culture and Society
  • ANTH 463: Anthropology of Religion
  • ANTH 491-02: Anthropology of South Asia
Research Interests
  • Aspects of subject formation, including gender/ethnic/class processes, nationalism, state-formation, civil society, capital/labour relations and religious tradition, in a context that appears to be increasingly saturated by processes of globalization.
  • Contemporary socio-political debates in South Asia
Robert Bell
  • B.A. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (History, and American Indian Studies)
  • M.A. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (History, emphasis on American Indian History) 
Research Interests
  • Nineteenth-century treaty agreements negotiated with American Indian tribes and the impact of those treaties on twenty-first century Native-settler political relations
  • Tribal initiatives toward culture and language preservation
  • The effects of nineteenth-century European imperialism on Indigenous peoples globally


John Mann headshot
  • Ph.D., Washington State University (History) 
  • M.A., Washington State University (History) 
  • B.A. Bowdoin College (History and Anthropology)
Teaching Interests
  • American History
  • Public History
  • American Indian History
Research Interests
  • American Indian History 
  • History of the American West
Lawrence T. Martin
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (English Linguistics)
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Education)
  • B.A. St. Francis College (Philosophy) 
Teaching Interests
  • Ojibwe language
  • Indigenous Religions of the Americas 
Research Interests
  • Ojibwe language
  • Christian Indian missions and Native language hymns
  • Medieval Latin

Currently Director Emeritus of American Indian Studies, but I teach an occasional class and I serve the role of Elder in Residence.


Enrolled tribal member of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe 

Robin Miller
Heather Ann Moody, American Indian Studies

Ed.D., University of Minnesota-Duluth (Teaching and Learning)
M.A., University of Arizona (American Indian Studies)
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (American Indian Studies)


Museum Studies Certificate, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Milwaukee Public Museum 

Teaching Interests
  • American Indian History and Culture - Emphasis on Wisconsin and Minnesota Tribal Nations
  • American Indian Contemporary Issues and Communities
  • American Indian Literature and Film
  • Indigenous Methods and Research 
Research Interests
  • Wisconsin Education Act 31 - American Indian Requirements in Higher Education
  • Wisconsin Education Act 31 - American Indian Requirements in K-12
  • American Indian Food Sovereignty

 American Indian Studies Program Curriculum Chair


 Enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin

Jim Oberly
  • Ph.D., University of Rochester (History) 
  • M.A., University of Rochester (History) 
  • B.A., Columbia University

University of Debrecen, 2008-13, Hungarian Language Study.

Teaching Interests
  • American Indian Studies 101
  • Introduction to American Indian Studies: History and Sovereignty History 114
  • US History to 1877 History 125
  • Sectionalism, Civil War, and Reconstruction American Indian Studies 369/569 / History 369/569
  • Wisconsin Indian History History 288-489 (seminar sequence in the History major) History 691
  • Studies in History for Teachers (online classes offered semi-annually for teachers seeking licensure in Wisconsin and needing instruction in Wisconsin Indian history, culture, and tribal sovereignty) History 711
Research Interests


The Mohican People: Their Lands and Their Lives,Wisconsin Improvement of Teaching Quality, 2009-2010;renewed 2010-2011. $185,000 Constructing and Reconstructing Liberty, Teaching American History, US Department of Education, 2009-2013. $1,650,000.

Gretchen Peters
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.M., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • B.M., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaching Interests
  • Music History
  • Global Traditions in Music
  • Gender and Music
  • American Indian Studies
Research Interests
  • Music of urban medieval society
  • Issues of diversity in curriculum
  • Issues of appropriation of American Indain culture in music
  • American music in the early twentieth century



Dr. Peters' research interests are wide-ranging. She has done extensive work on urban musical culture in France during the late Middle Ages. In addition to authoring numerous articles on the subject, her book entitled The Musical Sounds of Medieval French Cities: Players, Patrons and Politics was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. Her interest in issues of diversity and inclusivity in music curriculum is reflected in her article, entitled "Do Students See Themselves in the Music Curriculum?: A Project to Identify Exclusionary Practices and to Create Greater Inclusion," which appeared in an issue of the Music Educators Journal (2016). Her interest in American Indian Studies is reflected in her recent publication entitled, "Unlocking the Songs: Marcie Rendon's Indigenous Critique of Frances Densmore's Native Music Collecting," American Indian Culture and Research Journal (2015). Currently, she is exploring the early twentieth-century opera by Alberto Bimboni, entitled Winona, which is based on Native American legend surrounding Maiden Rock on Lake Pepin. She has advised numerous faculty-student research projects ranging from issues of change in traditional music of the Hmong in Eau Claire to problems of race in Bizet's Carmen to issues of gender in the history of the music program at UW-EC. 

Geoff Peterson headshot
  • Ph.D, University of Iowa (Political Science)
  • M.A., University of Iowa (Political Science)
  • B.A., Moorhead State University (Political Science & Psychology)
Teaching Interests
  • Voting Behavior
  • Media & Politics
  • Native American Political Behavior 
Research Interests
  • Voting Behavior
  • Media & Politics
  • Native American Political Behavior 
  • Chair of the Department of Political Science
  • Interim Chair of the Department of History
  • Faculty Representative to the University of Wisconsin System 
Andrew Sturtevant
  • PhD. The College of William and Mary (History) 
  • M.A., The College of William and Mary (History) 
  • B.A., Georgetown College (History and Philosophy)
Teaching Interests
  • Native American History 
  • Early American History 
  • Atlantic World
Research Interests
  • Eighteenth-century Great Lakes
  •  Native American History

 Current Faculty Adviser for Phi Alpha Theta and the History Enthusiasts

Odawa White, OMO and AIS
Ezra Zeitler
  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Geography)
  • M.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Geography)
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Geography)
Teaching Interests
  • Indigenous Geographies
  • Geographies of the United States & Canada
  • Cartography
  • Geographies of Race & Ethnicity
  • Tourism Geographies 
Research Interests
  • Cultural and Historical Geographies of North America
  • Geographic Education
  • Cartography
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