Photo of a woman with bangs and long hair, she is wearing a long-sleeved top and holding books

Jill Doerfler

Jill Doerfler (2006-2007) joined the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in the fall of 2008, was tenured in 2013, and became Department Head in 2014. She earned a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota-Morris and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. During 2007-2008, she was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois. Her primary area of scholarly interest is American Indian, specifically Anishinaabe, identity with a political focus on citizenship. Growing up on the White Earth reservation, Doerfler was all too familiar with the divisions that the use of blood quantum as the sole requirement for tribal citizenship (1961) caused. After a political crisis during the 1990s, there was a growing concern about the vast numbers of Anishinaabeg being excluded under the blood quantum requirement; families were literally divided with some possessing the blood quantum required for citizenship and others lacking it. Her research is premised on a commitment to bridging scholarly efforts with the practical needs of American Indian peoples, communities, and nations. Her research draws upon both historical documents and literature to delineate Anishinaabe conceptions of identity in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is especially interested in the ways in which Anishinaabeg resisted pseudo-scientific measures of blood (race/blood quantum) as a means to define identity. One of her newer areas of research dovetails with community service and focuses on the process of constitutional reform. Doerfler has been working with the White Earth Nation since 2007 on constitutional reform efforts. She has found working with the White Earth Nation to be rewarding and it has solidified a commitment to partnerships between scholars and Native nations.