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Mark Miller - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Mark Miller Mark Miller

Professor of History | Southern Utah University


Specializing in Native American identity and citizenship, wars of independence, and the economic history of the American midwest


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.




Mark Miller Publication Mark Miller Publication



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Industry Expertise (2)


Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (6)

Mormon Plural Marriage

U.S. Mexico Borderlands

American West

Environmental History

American Indians

Twentieth Century U.S. History

Education (3)

University of Arizona: Ph.D., United States, Native Americans, American West, Borderlands

Minor Field: Latin America

University of Arizona: M.A.

Texas A&M University: B.A.

Accomplishments (3)

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

Affiliations (8)

  • 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.”

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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.

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Meet the Native American Rachel Dolezal

Daily Beast  

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.

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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.

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The fight for federal recognition

The Times  

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.

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As Year's End Nears, Disappointment

Washington Post  

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.

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Requesting Privacy for a Tribal Ceremony

The Wall Street Journal  

Tribal Ceremony Privacy

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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.

Articles (4)

Claiming Tribal Identity The Five Tribes and the Politics of Federal Acknowledgment

University of Oklahoma Press

Mark Miller

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.

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Forgotten Tribes: Unrecognized Indians and the Federal Acknowledgment Process

University of Nebraska Press

Mark Miller

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.

An O​utsider’s Experience Teaching Mormon History in Utah

Religious Educator

Mark Miller

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.

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The Timbisha Shoshone and the National Park Idea: Building Toward Accommodation and Acknowledgment at Death Valley National Park, 1933-2000.

The Journal of the Southwest

Mark Miller

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.

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Courses (9)

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.