Biographies of Indigenous Historians

Philip Joseph Deloria (of Yankton Dakota descent) is the Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University. His research focuses on social, cultural and political histories of relations between and among American Indian peoples and the United States. He also studies comparative and connective histories of Indigenous peoples in a global context.

Deloria is the author of the award-winning books Playing Indian (1998) and Indians in Unexpected Places (2004), which are key texts in the study of Indian imagery and Indigenous modernity. His work brings American Indian history to the heart of US substance and identity and helps students of history to situate the changing dynamics of race in America. He has also written student-centred companion texts including American Studies: A User’s Guide (2017) with Alexander Olson, as well as two co-edited books and numerous articles and chapters.

Deloria is a Trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the former chair of the Repatriation Committee. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He will serve as president of the Organization of American Historians in 2022.

Deloria’s most recent book is Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract (2019), is a book about Mary Sully, a Dakota Sioux artist and the author’s own great-aunt. Largely self-taught and steeped in the visual traditions of the Sioux, Sully had engaged with experiments in time, space, symbolism, and representation characteristic of the early twentieth-century modernist art movement. Within and distinct from American modernity and modernism, her works also expressed anti-colonial esthetic.

Deloria is a Trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the former chair of the Repatriation Committee. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Deloria is the son of Vine Victor Deloria, Jr. (leading Indigenous intellectual and activist of the twentieth century), and great grandson of Tipi Sapa (Black Lodge), also known as Rev. Philip Joseph Deloria, an Episcopal priest and a leader of the Yankton band of the Dakota Nation who was also present for the inaugural meeting of the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911.

Contact Information:

deloria@fas.harvard.edu

• 617-495-8705

Select Publications:

Deloria, Philip. “Lenape: Imagining the Indigenous States of America,” Lecture for the SAR School of Advanced Research, February 2021 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGhB5_oJA2s

Deloria, Philip. “Tecumseh’s doomed quest for a Native confederacy,” New Yorker November 2, 2020, 76-80.

Deloria, Philip.  “Storytelling in an American Indian Family,” Lecture for the Harvard Alumni Association, May 2020 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NheInp1hbuE

Deloria, Philip.  “Thanksgiving in Myth and Reality,” New Yorker Nov 25 (2019): 70-70.

Deloria, Philip.  “The New World of the Indigenous Museum,” Daedalus 147:2 (2018): 105-115.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui and Philip J. Deloria, “Philip J. Deloria on Genealogies of Activism and Scholarship,” in Ed. Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018): 108-122.

Philip Deloria et al, “Unfolding Futures Indigenous Ways of Knowing for the Twenty-First Century,” Daedalus 147:2 (2018): 6-16.

Philip Deloria, “Indians Loom Large: Indians and America at the Turn of the Century,” Lecture for “Vistas and Dreams:  elebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Museum of the American Indian,” December 2016 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijwk9ZrboF0

Deloria, Philip. “American Master Narratives and the Problem of Indian Citizenship in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14, no. 1 (Jan 2015): 3-12.

Deloria, Philip. “Four Thousand Invitations.” American Indian Quarterly 37, no. 3 (July 2013): 25-43.