Russell Thornton (born 20 February 1942) is a Cherokee-American anthropologist and professor of anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles, who is known for his studies of Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas.  
His publications include:
- 1986 We Shall Live Again: The 1870 and 1890 Ghost Dance Movements as Demographic Revitalization (Cambridge University Press).
- 1987 American Indian Holocaust and Survival (University of Oklahoma Press).
- 1990 The Cherokees: A Population History (University of Nebraska Press).
- 1998 Editor. Studying Native America: Problems and Prospects (University of Wisconsin Press).
- 2007 Co-editor with Candace S. Greene. The Year the Stars Fell: Lakota Winter Counts at the Smithsonian (University of Nebraska Press and the Smithsonian Institution).