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Faculty Image Rosalyn La Pier
Office: Jeannette Rankin Hall 017
Phone: 406-243-6787


Current Position:

Faculty, Environmental Studies Program

Author with David Beck, City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934, University of Nebraska Press, expected May, 2015.


Rosalyn is an environmental historian, ethnobotanist, writer and popular public speaker on traditional environmental knowledge, Native American religion, language preservation and community activism. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana and also Red River Métis.

  • She has 13 years teaching experience: 8 years with a Native-controlled college and 5 years at UM.
  • She spent 20+ years apprenticing with Annie Mad Plume Wall and other tribal elders learning ethnobotany and lifeways of the Blackfeet.
  • She worked 20+ years with community-based organizations that advocate for cultural, historic, environmental and language preservation, including working with Piegan Institute and the late Darrell Robes Kipp (Apiniokio Peta).
  • She lives in the heart of Salish country in Missoula, Montana & off the grid in the summer near Chief Mountain on the Blackfeet reservation.

Office Hours:

Tuesdays: 1pm to 4pm, or by appointment.

Research Interests:

Grandma Angie picking roots

  • Traditional Environmental Knowledge
  • Ethnobotany of Native & Métis Peoples
  • Native American Language Preservation
  • Native American Community Activism 
  • U.S. Environmental History & Public Policy


  • Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental History, University of Montana
  • M.A., Liberal Studies (through Religious Studies), DePaul University
  • B.A., Physics, Colorado College

Teaching Experience:

Faculty Advisor, Traditional Environmental Knowledge of Native Peoples Focus Area

ENST 510 Environmental Issues of Native Americans

ENST 410 Tradiational Environmental Knowledge of Native Americans

ENST 396 Supervised Internship - Ethnobotany

ENST 391 Environment Montana: From Anaconda to Zortman

ENST 201 Environmental Information Resources

With Native American Studies at UM: NASX/PSCI 475X Tribal Sovereignty, NASX 391  American Indian Environmental Knowledge and Ethics, NASX 304E  Native American Belief and Philosophy (same as NASX/RSTS 301 American Indian Religion and Philosophy), and ENST/NASX 303E Ecological Perspectives in Native American Traditions.


Founding Member, National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs, 2014 to present

Advisory Council, Environmental Protection Agency, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, 2013-2016

Advisory Committee, American Indian College Fund, Building Sustainable Pathways Program, 2014-2017

Editorial Board, Montana The Magazine of Western History, Helena, Montana

Founder, Saokio Heritage, and YouTube channel.

Enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana & Métis (Red River/Turtle Mountain Chippewa)

Rosalyn is one of four Native American professors nationally in tenure track positions in Environmetal Studies or Sciences. She is the first and only Blackfeet tribal member with a tenure track position at the University of Montana.

International Experience:

Rosalyn has visited numerous Indigenous communities in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezula and Bolivia. She has served as an invited guest and speaker within many of these communities.


University Research Grant, University of Montana, 2014-2015

Faculty Professional Enhancement Grant, University of Montana, 2014

Humanities Montana Grant, 2014

Travel Award, National Science Foundation, STEM Women of Color Conclave, Spring 2012 & Spring 2014

Professional Fellow, U.S. Department of State, Economic Empowerment Exchange Program for Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, Spring 2014.

International Research Grant, International Studies, University of Montana, Summer 2013

Graduate Fellowship, The Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies, The Newberry Library, Chicago IL, 2009-2010

Travel Grant, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., Fall 2009

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., 2007

Frances C. Allen Fellow, D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of American Indians, The Newberry Library, Chicago, 2007

Research Fellowship, Montana Committee for the Humanities, 2004-2005

Selected Publications:


Article, "What's in a Name? Native American Name Giving and the Natural World," Montana Naturalist, Summer 2015. (In Press.)

Article, "Ideas of Wilderness," Crown of the Continent Magazine, Spring 2015. (In Press.)

Article, "Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge to Adapt to Climate Change," Environmental Justice in Action, July 1, 2014.

Article, "Montana's Metis People," Montana Naturalist, Winter 2013/2014.

Guest Opinion Column, "Thoughts on What Makes A Place Holy," The Great Falls Tribune, October 24, 2013.

Article, "From the Natural to the Supernatural: Discovering the Piegan People's World View," Montana Naturalist, Winter 2009/2010.

Section Introduction, "Buffalo Jumps," American Indian Places, edited by Frances H. Kennedy, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Chapter, "Métis Life Along Montana's Front Range," Beyond ... The Shadows of the Rockies: History of the Augusta Area, Augusta MT: Augusta Historical Society, 2007.

Internet, “Relationship with the Land – Seasonal Round,” Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta,, Spring 2006

Article, “Blackfeet Botanist: Annie Mad Plume Wall,” Montana Naturalist, Fall 2005.

Lexicon, Blackfeet Vocabulary Terms for Items of Material Culture, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 2005.


Book Manuscript, City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934, Rosalyn LaPier and David R.M. Beck, (In Press, University of Nebraska Press, expected May, 2015).

Book Chapter, "American Indian Urbanization,” Why You Can't Teach U.S. History Without American Indians, David R.M. Beck and Rosalyn LaPier, Edited by Susan Sleeper-Smith, Juliana Barr, Jean M. O’Brien, Nancy Shoemaker, and Scott Stevens, (In Press, University of North Carolina Press, expected April, 2015)

Journal Article, "‘One Man Relocation Team:’ Scott Henry Peters and American Indian Migration in the 1930's," Rosalyn LaPier and David R.M. Beck, Western Historical Quarterly, Spring 2014.

Journal Article, "Crossroads for a Culture: American Indians in Progressive Era Chicago," Rosalyn LaPier and David R.M. Beck, Chicago History, Spring 2012.

Guest Opinion Column, "Native Americans in the Academy," The Missoulian, December 13, 2007.

Other Publications:


"Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and History," edited by Nicole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny and Brenda Macdougall, Journal of American Ethnic History, Winter 2015.

"Amskapi Pikuni," by Alice Kehoe and Clark Wissler, Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Autumn, 2013.

"Huanduj. Brugmansia," by Alistair Hay, Monika Gottschalk, and Adolfo Holguin, Economic Botany. June 2013.

"Blackfoot Redemption: A Blood Indians Story of Murder, Confinement, and Imperfect Justice," by William Farr, Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Summer 2013.

"California Indian Languages," by Victor Golla, California History, September 2012.


Native American Calling, "State of the Union," January 23, 2015, featured guest.

The Truth About Trees: A Natural and Human History, Film Series and Community Story Project, Spring 2014

Native American Calling, "Renew, Reuse, Recycle -- Realistic?" November 18, 2013, featured guest.

Karl Puckett. "Woman Appointed to EPA Council: Advisory Panel Focuses on Environmental Justice," Great Falls Tribune, August 31, 2013.

Briana Wipf. "Shift to English Threatens Languages," Great Falls Tribune, June 30, 2013.

Martin Kidston. "Native American Professors Hired to Tenure-Tracked Jobs at University of Montana," The Missoulian, January 21, 2013.

Editor. "University of Montana Hires Blackfeet Professor," Glacier Reporter. October 3, 2012.

Clay Scott. Mountain West Voices. September 21, 2012.

Jessica Mayner. "Two Spirit, One Purpose," Missoula Independent. November 5, 2009.