Michelene E. Pesantubbee

Michelene E. Pesantubbee
Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Religious Studies and Department of American Studies/Native American and Indigenous Studies
Office: 
312 Gilmore Hall
Phone: 
319-335-2116

Dr. Pesantubbee is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  She teaches courses on Native American religious history, religious freedom issues, and the connections between spirituality and environmentalism.   In her American Indian Environmentalism course, student complete projects about current environmental issues facing American Indian communities for an end-of semester public presentation.  Her NAIS courses include:

  • RELS:2700/AINS:2700 Sacred World of Native Americans (fulfills General Education requirement in Values, Society, and Diversity)
  • AINS:3276/ RELS:3976 American Indian Environmentalism  (also cross-listed in the Environmental Policy & Planning major and the Sustainability certificate program)
  • RELS:4920/AINS:4560 Native American Women and Religious Change
  • RELS:2778/AINS:2078/GWSS:2778 American Indian Women: Myth Ritual & Sacred Power

Dr. Pesantubbee provided essential leadership to American Indian & Native Studies Program at UI from 2006-2008 and 2009-2011.  Her research program focuses on Native American religious change spanning the period from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.  She is particularly interested in how contact experiences with European and European Americans affected Native American religious practices and Native women’s lives. Her published articles and book chapters examine Native American religious movements that arise in response to colonization.  Her book on Choctaw Women in a Chaotic World examines how contact experiences with the French and British led to significant changes in Choctaw women’s lives.  Other works include “Wounded Knee: Symbol of Resistance and Recovery,” in Recovering Memory: Exposing Religion, Violence, and the Remembrance of Place (eds. Oren Baruch Stier and J. Shawn Landres, University of Indiana Press, 2006); and "Nancy Ward: American Patriot or Cherokee Nationalist?" in American Indian Quarterly 38.2 (2014): 177-206.  She is also working on a book-length project about how dances can help us rethink or revisualize Native women's participation in religious movements, based on information from four different Native American groups.