Dr. Mark Miller is the department chair and professor of history at Southern Utah University. His research and teaching specialties include United States History, American West, Borderlands, Indigenous Culture and History, World Civilization, and Latin America. He has published articles and books on modern American Indian History, most recently Forgotten Tribes (2006) and Claiming Tribal Identity (2013). He has published articles on race and ethnicity, on indigenous identity and politics in several journals.
Dr. Miller has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other publications on issues of tribal recognition. In the past several years his research on the United Houma Nation and other Louisiana tribes was noted in the AP Business Insider, AP The Big Story, and the Shreveport Times. Most recently his work was quoted in, "Meet the Native American Rachel Dolezal," in The Daily Beast:
Dr. Miller has a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and masters and a doctorate from the University of Arizona.
Industry Expertise (2)
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (17)
History of the LDS Church
Spanish and Portuguese Imperialism
Wars of Independence
Native American Identity and Citizenshp
American Indian History
Race and Ethnicity
Native Americans 20th Century
Claiming Tribal Identity
Aztec and Indigenous Empires
Economic History of the American Midwest
Texas A&M University: B.A.
University of Arizona: M.A.
University of Arizona: Ph.D., United States, Native Americans, American West, Borderlands
Minor Field: Latin America
Professor of the Year Award (professional)
Distinguished Educator of the Year (professional)
Southern Utah University
Outstanding Scholarship Award
College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Southern Utah University
- American Association of University Professors
- Western History Association
- Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies
- American Society for Ethnohistory
- Association for Borderlands Studies
- Phi Alpha Theta
- Southwestern Social Sciences Association
- Mormon History Association
Media Appearances (7)
SUU History day; a faith-promoting founding and a symbol of community spirit
St George News online
“The festival is an important part of outside perceptions of SUU and Cedar City in general,” SUU history professor Mark Miller said. “It brings in a lot of talent and outside energy to the campus, especially when students come for competitions and people come to stay during the summer to attend the plays.”
What Makes Someone Native American? One tribe’s long struggle for full recognition
Washington Post online
Many powerful western tribes have “a perception that the Lumbee are really a mixed-race, mainly African group,” says Mark Miller, a history professor at Southern Utah University who has written extensively about tribal identity. That “original sin,” he says, is a major cause of the Lumbees’ political problems.
Meet the Native American Rachel Dolezal
In 2013, Mark Edwin Miller’s book Claiming Tribal Identity: The Five Tribes and the Politics of Federal Acknowledgment described an alleged confrontation between Smith and Cherokee scholars Patti Jo King and Richard Allen that occurred midway through her career.
Native Americans in Louisiana swamps seek tribal recognition
Miller argues the Houma case revealed flaws in the tribal recognition process. He said the BIA relied too much on written records, of which none exist for the Houma. The group’s isolation in Southern swamps also hurt its chances.
The fight for federal recognition
Today American Indian leaders are summoning up these ancestral values for a modern day fight — the fight for federal recognition. Without official recognition, tribes are denied federal funding meant to counter the crushing poverty that many American Indian people face. And without federal recognition, tribal people are constantly battling to prove they exist.
As Year's End Nears, Disappointment
They have donned their fringed buckskin, bone breastplates and finest headdresses made of turkey feather or porcupine hair. They have danced for the Queen of England. They have smiled for President George W. Bush. At every turn during this Jamestown 400 Commemoration, Virginia's remaining Indian tribes have done everything asked of them.
Requesting Privacy for a Tribal Ceremony
The Wall Street Journal
Tribal Ceremony Privacy
Research Grants (1)
Center of Excellence for Teaching & Learning, Faculty Development Support Fund Grant,
Southern Utah University
The Provost's Office graciously provides Southern Utah University faculty with two funding grants to support their professional development.
Who counts as an American Indian? Which groups qualify as Indian tribes? These questions have become increasingly complex in the past several decades, and federal legislation and the rise of tribal-owned casinos have raised the stakes in the ongoing debate. In this revealing study, historian Mark Edwin Miller describes how and why dozens of previously unrecognized tribal groups in the southeastern states have sought, and sometimes won, recognition, often to the dismay of the Five Tribes—the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles.
The Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP) is one of the most important and contentious issues facing Native Americans today. A complicated system of criteria and procedures, the FAP is utilized by federal officials to determine whether a Native community qualifies for federal recognition by the United States government. In Forgotten Tribes, Mark Edwin Miller offers a balanced and detailed look at the origins, procedures, and assumptions governing the FAP. His work examines the FAP through the prism of four previously unrecognized tribal communities and their battles to gain indigenous rights under federal law. Based on a wealth of interviews and original research, Forgotten Tribes features the first in-depth history and overview of the FAP and sheds light on this controversial Native identification policy involving state power over Native peoples and tribal sovereignty.
My interest in Utah and Mormonism grew out of my graduate training. I received my PhD in history from the University of Arizona, where I conducted research and published an article on Latter-day Saint colonization and antipolygamy prosecution in territorial Arizona in the Journal of Mormon History.
In the early 1970s, tourists flocked to the lavish Furnace Creek Inn in the heart of Death Valley National Monument. With its swimming pools, palm-shaded gardens, and fine dining, the hotel seemed every bit the American version of an Arabian oasis. At the resort, visitors could enjoy the austere desert beauty of Death Valley without experiencing true discomfort or unpleasant encounters with the unforgiving landscape. Patrons of the inn, located near the monument headquarters at Furnace Creek, California, commanded a sweeping view of the snowcapped Panamint Range and white salt flats of the valley floor, a scene framing gray and beige uplands to the west.
HIST 1510 World History from 1500 C.E. to Present
This survey examines the political, social, cultural, economic, religious, scientific, and intellectual influences on the development of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe from 1500 to the present. The emphasis is global, comparative, and multicultural.
HIST 1700 American Civilization
The fundamentals of American history including political, economic, and social development of American institutions and ideas.
HIST 2700 United States 1607-1877
A political, social and economic survey of the period, emphasizing the forces for American Independence, the development of the Constitution, the emergence of Jacksonian democracy, the causes and aftermath of the Civil War.
HIST 2710 United States 1877-Present
The emergence of modern corporate enterprise and the growth of the U.S. as a world power and the growing impulse to domestic reform in the 20th century.
HIST 3000 American Indian History
This course covers pre-Columbian history to the present. It emphasizes the ethnohistory of indigenous peoples of North America with focus upon aboriginal cultures, European colonialism, inter-cultural contact, Native adaptation, culture change and contemporary political and social issues
HIST 3700 Latin American Civilization
This course surveys the history of Latin America from the pre-Columbian era to the present. Topics covered include: Aztec and other indigenous empires, Spanish and Portuguese imperialism, slavery, Catholicism, Wars of Independence, nation-building, economic development, Liberal reforms, industrialization, Mexican and other revolutions, the World Wars, postwar modernization, and Neo-Liberalism.
HIST 3810 History of the American West
A history of the American frontier from European exploration to the American trans-Mississippian frontier to the present. Topics include exploration, geography, exploitation, folk migrations, and the political, social, and economic history of the American West
HIST 3870 History of Utah
Geography and native peoples; early explorations; political, social and economic developments to the present
HIST 4890 Internship
Practical experience in history.