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Amanda Cobb-Greetham

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Amanda Cobb-Greetham

Founding Director of the Native Nations Center

Copeland Hall, room 235/235A


Ph.D.    University of Oklahoma, 1997
M.S.      University of North Texas, 1993
B.A.      Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 1992

Personal Statement

Since receiving my Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1997, I have held several tenured academic appointments, including faculty positions at the University of New Mexico and Oklahoma State University. 

From 2007 to 2012, I had the opportunity of serving my tribe, the Chickasaw Nation, as the Administrator of the Division of History and Culture.  During my time there, I had the honor of overseeing the curation and launch of the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, OK and directing the museums, archives, language programs, as well as the Chickasaw Press, the first tribal publishing house of its kind.

My research falls within two primary areas: (1) Tribal history and culture in Indian Territory and Oklahoma; and (2) issues of Native American representation and cultural production.  I have published book chapters and articles on these topics in such peer-reviewed journals as American Quarterly, American Studies, Studies in American Indian Literature, and American Indian Quarterly.

My first book, which received the American Book Award, focused specifically on Chickasaw history.  Listening to Our Grandmothers’ Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females, 1852-1949 (2000; 2007) was published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Bloomfield represents one of the rare instances in the 19th century of a Native community seizing control of its children’s formal education.   My second book, a collection of essays co-edited with Amy Lonetree titled, The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations (2008), focuses on issues of representation and cultural production and provides the first comprehensive look at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). My current research  examines the state of Oklahoma’s American Indian identity as it is manifested in popular culture, including commemorations, sculpture, performances, and museums beginning with the famous “marriage” of Miss Indian Territory to Mr. Cowboy Oklahoma on the steps of the Capitol at the time of statehood.

Serving as the Chair of the Native American Studies Department at OU is one of the highlights of my career—I have loved OU all of my life.  Working with our students, with our faculty, and with the Native nations and communities of Oklahoma is truly a privilege.   

Areas of Interest and Expertise

  • Representation and Cultural Production (Museums, Literature, Film, Art)
  • Oklahoma Indian History and Culture (Chickasaw History and Culture)

Recent Courses Taught

Honors and Recognition

  • Board of Trustees Member, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, February 2016-present.
  • Board of Governors Member, Harvard Project on Economic Development Honoring Nations Program Board of Governors, April 2016-present
  • Board Member, Americans for Indian Opportunity Leadership and Advocacy Organization, 2001-present.
  • Dissemination Committee Member, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Self-Governance/National Museum of the American Indian Exhibit October 2013.
  • Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Native American Law and Policy, The University of Oklahoma, College of Law, July 2013.
  • United States Department of State Guest Lecturer, La Paz, Bolivia
  • U.S. State Department’s People’s Diplomacy Initiative, July 2011
  • American Book Award (as author) for Listening to Our Grandmother’s Stories.  Selected by the Before Columbus Foundation, 2001.
  • Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, October 2013.
  • Writer-in-Residence, Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy, Chickasaw Nation, Ada, Oklahoma, August 2013.
  • American Indian Education Summer Institute Director, Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, August 2005.
  • “50 Making A Difference” Awardee in Oklahoma Journal Record’s Woman of the Year Awards, November 2016.
  • Featured Expert and Panelist in Oklahoma Today Magazine, Most Influential Oklahoma Native Americans Issue, July/August 2016.
  • Featured Professor in Indian Country Today Media Network, “Five Native Women Who Know Their History,” March 2016.

Selected Research and Creative Activity

  • Listening to Our Grandmother’s Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females, 1852-1949. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. Reprinted in 2007. (Winner of the American Book Award and the North American Indian Prose Award)
  • The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations. Co-edited with Amy Lonetree. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, October 2008.
  • Chickasaws Unconquered and Unconquerable.  Co-authored with Jeannie Barbour and Linda Hogan. Ada, Oklahoma: Chickasaw Press, 2007.
  • National Institute of Health, Center of Excellence Funding for the University of Oklahoma Center on Ethics in American Indian and Alaska Native Genomic Research, $3,611,308.00 over four years.
  • “The Unexpected Indian in James Welch’s Heartsong of Charging Elk.” Companions to Native Literatures: The Heartsong of Charging Elk. Ed., Arnold Krupat. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.
  • “Hearth and Home: Cherokee and Creek Women’s Memories of the U.S. Civil War in Indian Territory.” The Civil War and Reconstruction in Indian Territory, Ed., Bradley Clampitt. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.
  • “Powerful Medicine: The Rhetoric of LaDonna Harris, Comanche Activist.” Studies in American Indian Literature, 18.4 (Winter 2006).
  • “Understanding Tribal Sovereignty: American Studies and Journal of Indigenous Nations Joint Issue, 46:3/4 (Fall/Winter 2005).
  • “The National Museum of the American Indian as Cultural Sovereignty.” American Quarterly, 52:2 (June 2005).
  • Editor. American Indian Quarterly, Fall 2005 to present (Volume 31.2-Volume 38.4).
  • Editor. Chickasaw Press, October 2007 to present.
  • Dissemination Committee Member. Harvard University Honoring Nations/National Museum of the American Indian Exhibit on Tribal Self-Governance. Fall, 2013. Exhibit Completed 2017.
  • Curation Team Member. Removal Gallery. American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, Oklahoma City, OK, 2013. Exhibit Development in Process.
  • Curator. Chickasaw Cultural Center Permanent Exhibit. Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, OK, 2010.
  • Curator. Film Exhibit: Chickasaw Renaissance. Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, OK, 2010.
  • Curator. Film Exhibit: Behind the Scenes at the CCC. Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, OK 2009.
  • “American Indian Identity in Oklahoma: Tribal Sovereignty On-Air and Online.” Native American and Indigenous Studies Association National Conference, Austin, Texas, May, 2014.
  • “The Unexpected Indian in James Welch’s The Heartsong of Charging Elk.” Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States National Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March, 2014.
  • “Cultural Expectations, Cultural Identity and Modernity in James Welch’s The Heartsong of Charging Elk,” Native American Literature Symposium, Mystic Lake, Minnesota, March, 2014.
  • “Where History Lives.” Center for the Southwest Symposium, University of New Mexico, April 2012.
  • “Indigenous Studies and Publishing.” Institute for American Indian Research Symposium, University of New Mexico, April 2012.
  • “Chickasaw History and Culture.” United States Department of State Guest Lecture, La Paz, Bolivia, July 2011.

Previous Administrative Work

  • Associate Department Head, Department of English, Oklahoma State University, Fall 2013-present.
  • Administrator of Chickasaw Nation Division of History and Culture, Chickasaw Nation, 2007-October 2012, Sulphur, Oklahoma. Major Responsibilities Included:
  • Founder and Director, The Institute for American Indian Research, the University of New Mexico, 2005-2007.

Current Projects

Native American Studies. Co-Authored with Alan Velie. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Under Contract, Research in Progress.

For Better, For Worse: The American Indian and the Oklahoma Imaginary.

Description: For more than 100 years, the state of Oklahoma has endeavored to control the construct and manifestation of American Indian and tribal identity through public commemoration, performances, and other types of cultural production and popular
culture. The state has developed this “mythology” or “cultural identity” by variously celebrating, eliding, or manipulating its American Indian history and imagery during specific moments of heritage production. State-sponsored heritage production has served to define the tribes within the boundaries of Oklahoma as “belonging to” the state of Oklahoma, and notably, belonging only to the past. For Better, For Worse begins with an analysis of the statehood mock wedding of 1907—a “marriage” of Miss Indian Territory and Mr. Cowboy Oklahoma. The mock wedding serves as an extended metaphor to shed light on the ways the state’s “imaginary” or “mythology” has developed through time. Importantly, the project considers the ways in which American Indian tribes in Oklahoma are working to undo the legacy of colonization and presumed disestablishment by contesting this state mythology.
 In doing so, tribal nations are providing powerful counter-narratives to state-sponsored heritage production, revising the public’s understanding of Oklahoma’s history, and reshaping the public’s understanding of contemporary tribal sovereignty.

President David L. Boren officially established the Native Nations Center in October 2015. The Center will centralize resources across campus; support a research policy center with full-time non-advocacy, applied research faculty who develop tools and strategies for tribal governance in a variety of areas including health, law, economics, education, and the environment; support research and preservation efforts in the area of language revitalization; and support research and increased cultural production in the areas of Native art and cultural expression.