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


Current Position:

Faculty, Environmental Studies Program

Faculty Advisor, Traditional Environmental Knowledge of Native Peoples Focus Area


Rosalyn LaPier is an environmental historian, Native language advocate and herbalist. She researches and writes about American Indian Activism and Traditional Environmental Knowledge. She spent over twenty years learning ethnobotany from her late grandmother Annie Mad Plume Wall. She also spent over a dozen years working with elders documenting the Blackfeet language. Before teaching at UM, Rosalyn worked for over twenty years with several national and regional Native non-profits on Native language preservation and community capacity building. She also worked for a Native college for ten years, both as an instructor and program director. Rosalyn divides her time living in the heart of Salish country in Missoula, Montana and off the grid near Chief Mountain on the Blackfeet reservation. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana and also Red River Métis.


January 19: "Environmental Justice," Keynote (transcript), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

January 24: "What's in a Name? Native Perspectives," Travelers Rest State Park, Lolo, MT, 11am to 12noon.

Office Hours:

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

Research Interests:

Traditional Ecological/Environmental Knowledge and Ethnobotany of Native and Métis Peoples; Native American Languages;  U.S. Environmental History and Public Policy; American Indian Activism.


Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental History, University of Montana

M.A., Liberal Studies (through Religious Studies Dept.), DePaul University

B.A., Physics, Colorado College

Teaching Experience:

ENST 594 Environmental Issues of Native Americans, Spring 2015

ENST 391 Environment Montana: From Anaconda to Zortman, Spring 2015

ENST 491 Nature and Native Americans

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)

ENST/NASX 303E Ecological Perspectives in Native American Traditions

ENST 201 Environmental Information Resources


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 (invited)

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, "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.


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.