University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PhD

I am a Colorado-born Canadian citizen of the Cherokee Nation, appointed as Professor in the Department of English and the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. My work in Indigenous literary studies takes up questions and issues of kinship, belonging, sexuality, personhood, and nationhood, and engages historical, political, aesthetic, and representational contexts and concerns. Increasingly I have been interested in the intersections between Indigenous literatures, speculative fiction, and the other-than-human. My published work includes Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History, the animal cultural history Badger, the Indigenous epic fantasy trilogy The Way of Thorn and Thunder, and have edited and co-edited numerous works, including The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature (with James H. Cox). Forthcoming book-length work includes the literary manifesto Why Indigenous Literatures Matter (from Wilfrid Laurier University Press), another animal cultural history (this time Raccoon), and a new dark fantasy series. More information about my work and commitments can be found on my website,

My primary teaching appointment is in First Nations and Indigenous Studies, but I work closely with a number of graduate students in English and will occasionally teach a course in the Department. I am delighted to work with current and potential graduate students in the field of Indigenous literary studies, and would also welcome discussions with students interested in speculative fiction, sexuality and gender, animal studies, and cultural studies.

Authored Books

  • Badger. Animal Series, ed. Jonathan Burt. London: Reaktion, 2015. 224 pp.
  • Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2006. 277 pp.
  • The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles. Fully revised, one-volume omnibus edition of The Way of Thorn and Thunder trilogy. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 2011. 616 pp.

Selected Co-Edited Books

  • The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Co-edited with James H. Cox. New York: Oxford UP, 2014. 741 pp.
  • Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature. Co-edited with Qwo-Li Driskill, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2011. 248 pp.


Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Indigenous Writing.” The World of Indigenous North America. Ed. Robert Warrior. New York: Routledge, 2014: 291-307.
  • “Afterword: Considering the Legacies of Avatar.” Avatar and Nature Spirituality. Ed. Bron Taylor. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2013: 337-52.
  • “Notes Toward a Theory of Anomaly.” Special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, ed. Mark Rifkin, Bethany Schneider, and Daniel Heath Justice, 16.1-2 (2010): 207-42.
  • “‘Go Away, Water!’: Kinship Criticism and the Decolonization Imperative.” Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective. Eds. Craig S. Womack, Daniel Heath Justice, and Christopher B. Teuton. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008: 147-168.
  • “Renewing the Fire: Notes Toward the Liberation of English Studies,” Readers’ Forum, ESC: English Studies in Canada 29.1-2 (2003): 45-54.


Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture (Tier 2): This project focuses on “critical kinship” as a descriptive analytic for some of the diverse ways that Indigenous writers, performers, artists, and culture workers articulate healthy and sustainable models of relationship and belonging, especially as enacted through diverse human and other-than-human kin relations. It includes publications that take up issues of “critical kinship,” support for collaborative research clusters that connect Indigenous scholars and artists from across North America and the Pacific, and community-engaged arts interventions that support the work of queer/two-spirit Indigenous culture workers as they envision and enact diverse, culturally connected models of kinship.

The People and the Text is a 5-year SSHRC funded research project (2015-2020) linking Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and students through the production of an online annotated bibliography of Indigenous-authored and some “as-told-to” texts from the beginnings of Indigenous literacy in English or in English translation to the symbolically significant date of 1992, with a focus on the ethics and cultural protocols of production and dissemination. Website:

Areas of specialization:

  • Indigenous literary studies
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Animal studies
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Speculative fiction