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Farina King

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Laura Harjo

Farina King
Associate Professor
Horizon Endowed Chair of Native American Ecology and Culture

Copeland Hall, room 205


Ph.D. in History, Arizona State University
M.A. in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. in History and French Studies with minors in Native American Studies and African Studies, Brigham Young University

Personal Statement

Bilagáanaa niliigo’ dóó Kinyaa’áanii yásh’chíín. Bilagáanaa dabicheii dóó Tsinaajinii dabinálí. Ákót’éego diné asdzáá nilí. Dr. Farina King is Bilagáanaa (Euro-American), born for Kinyaa’áanii (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). Her mother is of English-American descent from Michigan, and her father is Navajo from the Rehoboth, New Mexico checkerboard region of Diné Bikéyah (Navajo land). Her maternal grandfather was European-American, and her paternal grandfather was Tsinaajinii (Black-streaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. King was born in Tó Naneesdizí (Tuba City) and lived in the Navajo Nation as a small child, until her family moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where her father worked for the Indian Health Service.

King is the President of the Southwest Oral History Association (2021-2022). During the 2016-2017 academic year, King was The David J. Weber Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies of Southern Methodist University. She earned her Ph.D. in American history with an emphasis in Native American history at Arizona State University in 2016. Her first book, The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century, was published by the University Press of Kansas in October 2018.

She was the Charles Eastman Dissertation Fellow (2015-2016) at Dartmouth College. She received her M.A. in African history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Brigham Young University with a double major in History and French Studies. She has studied several languages including French, Portuguese, Yoruba, Wolof, and Navajo, and she plans to learn more languages in the future.

Her primary area of research is colonial and post-colonial Indigenous studies, mainly Indigenous experiences in colonizing forms of education, such as at federal American Indian boarding schools. Her research traces the changes in Diné educational experiences through the twentieth century, using a hybrid approach of the Diné Sacred Four Directions. She has facilitated oral histories with Diné boarding school survivors, involving former students of the Intermountain Indian School, Crownpoint Indian Boarding School, Tuba City Boarding School, Leupp Boarding School, and Kayenta Boarding School.

The University of Arizona Press published Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School, in November 2021, which she co-authored with Drs. Michael Taylor and James Swensen. Returning Home features Diné students’ art, poetry, and writing of the Intermountain Indian Boarding School (1950-1984) from a traveling exhibit that King, Taylor, and Swensen organized as well as some of the oral histories with King and Intermountain alumni.

King has also written and presented about Native American and Indigenous Latter-day Saint experiences in the twentieth century, drawing from some interviews that she conducted for the Latter-day Saint Native American Oral History Project at the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. She serves on the steering committee of Global Mormon Studies.

Her greatest inspirations are her family, especially her three children. Other than learning different languages and having fun with her family, King loves to sing and travel.

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Native American and Indigenous Studies, Native American History, Ethnohistory of North America, African History, Race and Ethnic Studies, Comparative Colonial History, U.S. History, Oral History, History of Native American Education, American West and Southwest Studies, Native American and Indigenous Women’s Studies, and Public History

Research Focus & Methodology: Indigenous hybrid methodologies, applications of socio-cultural history, Indigenous educational history, oral history, ethnohistory, and autoethnography

Honors and Recognition

Turning Points in History Grant for Native Circles podcast, The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, 2021-2022

Top 10 Riverhawk Award, Northeastern State University, 2020-2021

Humanities Initiatives, Colleges and Universities, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant for Mapping Tahlequah History co-directed by Dr. Farina King and Dr. John McIntosh, announced 2020, 2021-2024

Fellowship in Western American Studies, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, 2020-2021

Japan Residency for Meiji Gakuin University, Organization of American Historians and Japanese Association for American Studies, 2020-2022

Mini-Grant, Southwest Oral History Association, 2019

Utah Humanities Oral History Grant, Utah Humanities and Utah Division of State History, 2018-2019

Interdisciplinary Grant, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, 2017-2018

The Susan Kelly Power and Helen Hornbeck Tanner Fellowship, Newberry Library, July 2017

The David J. Weber Fellowship for the Study of Southwestern America, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2016-2017

Charles Eastman Fellowship, Dartmouth College, 2015-2016

P.E.O. Scholar Award, 2015-2016

Phillips Fund for Native American Research, American Philosophical Society, 2015

Selected Research and Creative Activity

Co-authored with Michael Taylor and James Swensen. Returning Home: Diné Creative Works of the Intermountain Indian School. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2021.

The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2018. Nominated for Best First Book Published in 2018 by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

“Diné Doctor: A Latter-day Saint Story of Healing,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 54, no. 2 (Summer 2021): 81-85.

“Roundtable: Latter-day Saint Indigenous Perspectives on Columbus,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 54, no. 2 (Summer 2021):101-121.

“Voices of Indigenous Dallas-Fort Worth from Relocation to the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy,” Family & Community History Vol. 24, Issue 2 (Summer 2021): 147-174.

“A ‘Loyal Countrywoman’: Rachel Caroline Eaton, Alumna of the Cherokee National Female Seminary,” in This Land Is Her Land: Gendered Activism in Oklahoma, 1870s-2010s, edited by Sarah Eppler Janda and Patricia Loughlin, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2021.

“Ina Mae Ance and a Crownpoint Indian Boarding School Family,” Journal of the West 59, no. 3 (Summer 2020): 3-10.

“An Indian Boarding School Family,” Phi Kappa Phi Forum 99, no. 4 (Winter 2019): 8-11. “Aloha in Diné Bikéyah: Mormon Hawaiians and Navajos, 1949-1990,” in Essays on American Indian and Mormon History, edited by P. Jane Hafen and Brenden Rensink, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2019.

“Best Anthology Award” 2019 John Whitmer Historical Association.

“State of the Field: Indigenizing Mormonisms,” Mormon Studies Review 6 (2019): 1-16.

“Intergenerational Ties: Diné Memories of the Crownpoint Boarding School during the 1960s,” New Mexico Historical Review 93, no. 4 (Fall 2018): 399-420.

“Miss Indian BYU: Contestations over the Crown and Indian Identity,” Journal of the West 52, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 10-21.

“Homeland,” in Blossom as the Cliffrose: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild, edited by Karin Anderson and Danielle Beazer Dubrasky, Salt Lake City: Torrey House Press, 2021.

Co-Director of Workshop, “Indigenous Perspectives on the Meanings of 'Lamanite'” (2022-2023)

Revisiting The Peoples of Utah, research community for the Utah State Historical Society (2020-present)

BYU Slavery Project, advisory board for Brigham Young University (2020-present)

The Global Mormon and Restoration COVID-19 Stories Project, in cooperation with Global Mormon Studies and the Global Mormon Studies Center of Claremont Graduate University (2020-present)

Mapping Tahlequah History Project, Northeastern State University (2018-present)

Indigenous History Literacy Project, Northeastern State University (2018-present)

Women’s History Consultation, Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University (2019-2022)

Previous Administrative Work

Director of the Center for Indigenous Community Engagement, Northeastern State University (2017-2022)

Current Projects

“Diné Doctor: Navajo Histories of Disease and Healing from the Nineteenth Century to COVID- 19 Era,” book manuscript in preparation for review (under contract).

“Gáamalii dóó Diné: Navajo Latter-day Saint Experiences in the Twentieth Century,” book manuscript under review.

“Miss Indian BYU Through Generations,” book manuscript in preparation for review.

"COVID-19 in Indian Country" edited volume.

"Indigenous Perspectives on the Meanings of 'Lamanite'" edited volume.