Clifford Trafzer
Distinguished Professor of History and Costo Chair in Native American
Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 1973

Areas of specialization: Native American Social-Cultural History; American West; Oral Traditions; Public History

(951) 827-1974


Raised in Arizona, Clifford Trafzer was born to parents of Wyandot Indian and German blood. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in history at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he also worked as an archivist for Special Collections. He earned a Ph.D. in American History in 1973 with a specialty in American Indian History from Oklahoma State and the same year became a museum curator for the Arizona Historical Society. Before joining the faculty of UCR in 1991, Trafzer taught American Indian History at Navajo Community College, Washington State University and San Diego State University. His Boarding School Blues was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2006. His As Long As The Grass Shall Grow and Rivers Flow: A History of Native Americans was published in 2000. His Kit Carson Campaign: The Last Great Navajo War and Yuma: Frontier Crossing of the Far Southwest were published in 1981. His work, Renegade Tribe: The Palouse Indians and the Invasion of the Inland Pacific Northwest, appeared in 1986 winning the Governor's Award for the best non-fiction in Northwestern history. Trafzer has published several books and articles with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford Foundation, American Philosophical Society, Historical Society of Southern California, Haynes Fund, and American Council of Learned Societies. In 1994 he won the Penn Oakland Award for Earth Song, Sky Spirit and in 1997 won the Native American Wordcraft Circle Award for Death Stalks the Yakama: Epidemiological Transitions and Death on the Yakama Indian Reservation, 1888-1964. His works include Grandmother, Grandfather, and Old Wolf: Tamánwit Ku Súdat and Traditional Native American Stories From the Columbia PlateauExterminate Them!, and Native Universe: Voices of Indian America. He is currently completing three books on Wyandot medicine woman Eleonore Sioui, a reinterpretation on American Indian boarding schools, and the role of field nurses among Indian people of Southern California.