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On Sacred Ground: Indigenous Motherhood in the Academy

June 27, 2022

Episode 2, Seaon 1

In this episode titled ‘Indigenous Motherhood in the Academy’ we had the honor to share space with three phenomenal Indigenous women- Chris A. Nelson, Ph.D., Heather Shotton, and Robin Minthorn, Ph.D., editors of the upcoming book, “Indigenous Motherhood in the Academy”.

Access our podcast on our YouTube channel. About our Featured Guests: 

Robin Minthorn, Ph.D.

Comes to UW Tacoma from the University of New Mexico, where she was an Associate Professor. Dr. Robin Starr Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn (citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and descendant of the Apache, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Assiniboine Nations). She is the Director of the Ed.D. Program, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of Indigenous Education Initiatives. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Dr. Minthorn served as Coordinator of Native American Affairs at Oklahoma State University and an adjunct faculty at Pawnee Nation College. Preceding that, as an academic advisor at Comanche Nation College, which is Oklahoma’s first tribal college.

Dr. Minthorn also co-founded Gamma Delta Pi, Inc. American Indian Sisterhood and RAIN (Retaining American Indians Now) as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma. As an academic professional, she co-founded the ONASHE (the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education) Conference. Dr. Minthorn’s primary research interests include Indigenous leadership in higher education, inter-generational leadership perspectives in tribal communities, supporting Native American college students and campus climate for Native American college students. Dr. Minthorn earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Oklahoma State University. She is the co-editor of the Indigenous Leadership in Higher Education book published by Routledge, Reclaiming Indigenous Research in Higher Education published by Rutgers University Press, and Unsettling Settler Colonial Education: Transformational Indigenous Praxis Model book by Teachers College Press. She lives on the Puyallup reservation in Puyallup, WA with her partner Gabe and daughter Roxie.

Heather Shotton

Is a citizen of the Wichita & Affiliated Tribes, and is also of Kiowa and Cheyenne descent. She is an associate professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma, having previously served as as an associate professor in Native American Studies at OU. She received her doctorate in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Dr. Shotton’s research focuses on Indigenous students in higher education and Indigenous women, particularly in the areas of leadership and Indigenous women in academia.

She served as a co-editor for the book, Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education (Stylus), which addresses strategies for serving Native college students, and is a co-editor for the forthcoming book, Reclaiming Indigenous Research in Higher Education (Rutgers University Press).  Prior to returning to OU she served as assistant director of multicultural student affairs at Oklahoma City University. She has spent her career serving students both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Shotton is the past president for the National Indian Education Association and was recently named the NIEA Educator of the Year. She is a strong advocate for Native education and serves Native students and communities on a national and local level. She lives in Norman with her partner John Shotton, and their two daughters Sloan and Sophie.

Chris A. Nelson, Ph.D.

(Diné and Laguna Pueblo) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver in the Morgridge College of Education – Higher Education Department. Chris received her doctorate in higher education from the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. She also holds a master’s in Higher Education from the University of Arizona and bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Phoenix. With over 10 years of higher education experience, she has a cross sectioning of experiences ranging from educational pathways in STEM, policy research, and student affairs. She has served as a summer research associate with the American Council on Education and is an alumna of the Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship. 

Chris utilizes a Native Nation Building lens and critical theory to explores the purpose of higher education by addressing the collective and political factors influencing Indigenous college students and tribal communities. Her research challenges the socially accepted norm that college is an individual pursuit resulting in primarily individual benefits. Ultimately, as first-generation college student, she works for underserved communities and their students, who deserve every chance to access, persist, and complete a higher education degree.