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Heather Cahoon, Adjunct Lecturer

Location: NAC 203B
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 1:00-2:00pm

Phone: (406) 243-5838


Ph.D., Interdisciplinary (History, Anthropology & Native American Studies), University of Montana (2005)

M.F.A., Poetry, University of Montana (2001)

B.A, English & Native American Studies, University of Montana (2000)

Research Interests

Tribal sovereignty, tribal government/governing structures, and individual tribal member social and civil justice issues

Professional Experience

My somewhat disparate interests in event planning, poetry/literature and tribal sovereignty merged when I ran an event planning and consulting business before teaching at the University of Montana.  During that time, I worked with non-profits, tribal nations, state agencies and individuals to plan and produce an array of events, from fundraisers to youth camps to celebrations.  I also worked as an Indian Education for All consultant, offering professional development to K-12 teachers and administrators across the state of Montana on topics including tribal sovereignty and the history of federal Indian policy in the U.S.  My background as a poet also brought me into classrooms where I conducted poetry readings and workshops with students of all ages.

Some of my favorite work includes various collaborations with the Montana Indian Business Alliance, the Montana State Indianpreneurship Program, MSU-Billings and the University of Great Falls; namely the First People's Youth Entrepreneurship Camps, which aimed to promote sustainable reservation economies by developing and supporting individual Indian business ownership (rather than tribally owned enterprises).  This delving into economic issues on reservations led to my exploration of other social issues and my current work to create an organization that strives to address the root of these problems by ensuring individual tribal member social and civil justice through avenues such as an Intra-tribal Review Board for civil rights violations and pushing for tribal constitutional reform that includes a separation of tribal governing powers.

Selected Publications


Elk Thirst, University of Montana Merriam-Frontier Award for Publication, 2005.


NASX 235, "Oral and Written Traditions of Native Americans"

NASX 291, "Special Topics: Fundraising"

NASX 180, "Event Planning (Kyi-Yo Pow Wow)"



“Rescue at L8000 Road.” Poets of the American West. Kalispell, MT: Many Voices Press, 2010.

“Dinner: A Prose Poem.” Edible Missoula Magazine. No. 4, Fall, 2008.

“Elk Thirst.” Camas: The Nature of the West. University of Montana, Summer 2007.

“Eplctet?u Scilip.” Poems Across the Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets. Kalispell, MT: Many Voices Press, 2007.

“Blonde.” Hanging Loose. Brooklyn, NY, Spring 2007.

“Half-Dream” and "Remaining." South Dakota Review, University of South Dakota, Winter 2006.

“Embers” and "History." Camas: The Nature of the West. University of Montana, Winter 2006.

“Elk Thirst.” Big Sky Journal. Bozeman, MT, Fall 2006.

Contributions to Books

"Understanding the Political History of American Indians and Its Implications for Indian Education." Indigenous Literacies Are for Everyone (work in progress).

"Blonde," "Missions" and "Elk Thirst." Birthright: Born to Poetry--A Collection of Montana Indian Poetry. Helena, MT: Office of Public Instruction, 2012.


Three collections of 16 short stories for children that were translated into Salish and used for the Level 1-3 Salish Language Curriculum at Nkwusm, the Salish Langage Immersion School located on the Flathead Indian Reservation.