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


Current Position:

Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, University of Montana

Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution


Rosalyn is an environmental historian, ethnobotanist, writer and popular public speaker. In her research, writing and speaking she blends traditional knowledge learned from elders with academic knowledge. She believes that preserving traditional knowledge and revitalizing indigenous languages supports the conservation of the natural world.

  • Rosalyn spent over twenty years apprenticing with Blackfeet elder Annie Mad Plume Wall learning ethnobotany.  She continues to work closely with tribal elders to learn traditional environmental knowledge. She has over 25 years experience researching TEK.
  • Rosalyn has thirteen years teaching experience: eight years with a Native-controlled college and five years at UM.
  • Rosalyn is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana and also Red River Métis. Her Blackfeet name is Kitai-ksiss-kstaki, which translates as Not Real (Supernatural) Beaver Woman.

Office Hours:

No summer office hours.

Research Interests:

Grandma Angie picking roots

  • Traditional Environmental Knowledge
  • Ethnobotany & Ethnoecology of Indigenous Peoples
  • Non-Timber Forest Products & Their Conservation
  • Native American Language Revitalization & Community Activism


  • Ph.D., History, University of Montana
  • M.A., Liberal Studies (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 at a research university in an Environmetal Studies or Sciences department. She is the first and only Blackfeet tribal member with a tenure track position at the University of Montana.

Professional Experience:

Rosalyn career has been devoted to positive community change and development. She has worked with community-based organizations that advocate for Native American language revitalization and at the national level to promote policies to strengthen Native American languages for twenty-five years.

  • She worked with Piegan Institute and the late Darrell Robes Kipp (Apiniokio Peta) from 1991 to 2014, during that time she raised $4,000,000 for Piegan Institute programs.
  • She works to influence state and federal policies to revitalize Native American languages, including the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.
  • She is the founder of Saokio Heritage, a community based organization, that works to revitalize Native American languages and environmental knowledge using digital and social media.
  • She is a founding member of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs.

International Experience:

Rosalyn has been an invited guest and speaker on ethnobotany and indigenous languages in Indigenous communities in North and South America, including Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezula and Bolivia.


Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 2015-2018

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 Program for Southeast Asia, 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:


Book project,  "The Piegan (Blackfeet) View of the Natural World, 1880-1920," -- in progress.

Article project, "Plants That Purify: A Natural History of Smudging," -- in progress.

Article, "What's in a Name?," Montana Naturalist, Spring/Summer 2015.

Article, "Silent, Sacred and Wild," Crown of the Continent Magazine, Spring 2015.

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

Interview, The Truth About Trees: A Natural and Human History, Film Series and Community Story Project, Spring 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, City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934, Rosalyn LaPier and David R.M. Beck, University of Nebraska Press, 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, University of North Carolina Press, 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, Spring 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.


"UM Assistant Professor Named Smithsonian Research Associate," University of Montana press release, June 8, 2015.

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.