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Spoonhunter earns doctorate in American Indian studies

Jun 13, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Tarissa Lynn Spoonhunter, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho and Blackfeet tribes, received her doctoral degree in American Indian studies from the University of Arizona at the school's commencement ceremony May 17. Spoonhunter is the daughter of Marlin Spoonhunter of the Wind River Indian Reservation and Joyce Tatsey Spoonhunter of the Blackfeet Reservation.

Tarissa Spoonhunter received her Master of Arts in American Indian studies in 2001, also from the University of Arizona, and her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Montana. She plans on teaching American Indian studies and currently works as a researcher at the Tohono O'Odham Community College.

Her dissertation title is "The Blackfoot Confederacy: Keeper of the Rocky Mountains." She chose to pursue American Indian studies, because she said it was important to educate non-American Indians on the population as they become policymakers and legislators in the United States.

"I wanted to make sure it benefited tribes," Spoonhunter added.

In Arapaho, she is also known as "That Women with an Eagle Plume." She said she enjoys singing and dancing on the powwow trails throughout the United States and Canada. She has three children: Riley, Alyona and Rhiana.

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