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Brian Burkhart

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Brian Burkhart

Former Interim Director of the Native Nations Center 2021-2023

Brian Burkhart

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Pronouns: he/him/his/they

Education: Ph.D., Indiana


Research Areas:

  • Native American Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Race
  • Latinx Philosophy

Dr. Burkhart is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and has taught at OU since 2018. Before that he was Director and Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at California State University, Northridge. His research specialization is in Native American and Indigenous philosophy, specifically Indigenous land-based conceptions of well-being and environmental ethics. His 2019 book, Indigenizing Philosophy through the Land: A Trickster Methodology for Decolonizing Environmental Ethics and Indigenous Futures, claims that land is key to both the operations of coloniality as well the anti-colonial power that grounds Indigenous liberation. Land as a material, conceptual, and ontological foundation for Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and valuing provides a framework for Indigenous environmental ethics that can also function as an anti-colonial force for sovereign Indigenous futures. His current book project, As Strong as the Land that Made You: Native American and Indigenous Philosophies of Well-Being through the Land extends the land-based methodologies into reflections on both environmental and individual health for Native people and Native Nations. Burkhart is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma with roots in the Jaybird Creek community of Northeastern Oklahoma as well as the Indian Wells community of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Indiana University. “I am honored to take a role in the all-important work of creating, growing, and continuing respectful and supportive relationships between academics and Native Nations,” Burkhart said. “Native people have often been viewed as objectives of study rather than as living people with existing frameworks of knowledge, governance, and kinship that shape their understanding of themselves as sovereign nations with sovereign futures. Part of the goal of my work in the Native Nations Center will be to help researchers frame their work with and in relation to Native Nations through this lens,” Burkhart adds.