University loses distinguished faculty member

The University community offers its most sincere condolences to the family, friends, students and many colleagues of the late Dr. Don Birchfield, a professor of Native American Studies, award-winning author and champion of, and mentor to, numerous students.

Don served the Department of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge since 2001. He passed into the spirit world in the early hours of Friday, September 7, 2012. He will be greatly missed.

At this time, a memorial service is yet to be finalized. This notice will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.

Don Birchfield was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Prior to teaching at the University of Lethbridge, Don taught American Indian studies at Cornell University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

He served as book review editor for Studies In American Indian Literatures (SAIL), Native Americas, and News From Indian Country, and is a former editor of Camp Crier at the Oklahoma City Native American Center.

His Oklahoma Basic Intelligence Test (Greenfield Review Center, 1998) won the First Book Award For Prose from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, and his Field of Honor (U of OK P, 2004) won the Writer of the Year award from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers and the Spur Award for Best First Novel from Western Writers of America.

His other books include Black Silk Handkerchief: A Hom-Astubby Mystery (U of OK P, 2006) and nineteen textbooks for children from educational publishers.

Don was a founding member of the National Advisory Caucus of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. He was General Editor of the eleven-volume Encyclopedia of North American Indians (Marshall Cavendish, 1997).

In 2007, he was the Distinguished Lecturer at the 84th annual convention of the Central States Anthropological Society. His most recent book, How Choctaws Invented Civilization and Why Choctaws Will Conquer The World (U of NM P, 2007), treats American history, American Indian law and policy, Choctaw history, and academe as objects of satire.