Philip J. Deloria

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Philip J. Deloria
Occupation Professor, Historian
Language English
Nationality American, Standing Rock Sioux
Alma mater University of Colorado, B.M.E., M.A.; Yale University, PhD (1994)[1]
Subject Native American history, Native American studies
Notable works Playing Indian
Relatives Vine Deloria Jr., father

Philip Joseph Deloria (Dakota) is an historian who specializes in Native American, Western American, and environmental history. He is the son of scholar Vine Deloria, Jr. (Dakota) and a descendant of Civil War General Alfred Sully and painter Thomas Sully.[2][3] Deloria is the author of prize-winning texts, Playing Indian (1999) and Indians in Unexpected Places (2004). Deloria received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University and currently teaches in the Department of History at Harvard University.[1]

Family background[edit]

Philip Deloria is the son of Vine and Barbara Deloria. Vine Deloria Jr. (Yankton Dakota) was a scholar, writer, and activist for Native American rights who earned national recognition for his 1969 book, Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto.[4] Philip is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.[5] Philip J. Deloria's paternal grandmother Ella Deloria (Yankton Dakota) worked as an ethnologist and Deloria's great-great grandfather Philip Joseph Deloria, also known as Tipi Sapa (Black Lodge), was an Episcopal priest.[3][6] Philip J. Deloria is also the great-great-great grandson of U.S Army officer and painter Alfred Sully, and the great-great-great-great-grandson of painter Thomas Sully.[2][3]

Education and career[edit]

Deloria graduated from the University of Colorado in 1982 with a B.M.E. in Music Education.[7] In 1988, Deloria completed his M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Colorado, as well.[7] Deloria received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1994.[8] Deloria worked as a professor at the University of Colorado in the Department of History from 1994-2000, before taking up a professorship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in both the Department of American Culture and the Department of History.[7] Deloria was the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor's College of Literature Science and the Arts.[8] In 2018 he was made the first tenured professor of Native American history at Harvard University.

Published works[edit]

Deloria is the author of two non-fiction books and a number of articles and book chapters.

Deloria's 1999 text, Playing Indian, addresses the historical phenomenon of "playing Indian", whereby non-Native people in the United States construct national and personal identities through the performance of Indian dress and ritual. Playing Indian won the 1999 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Program for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.[9]

Deloria's second book, Indians in Unexpected Places (2004), explores stereotypes of Native American people which confine them to the past and analyzes the seeming disunity between Indian people and modernity. Indians in Unexpected Places received the John C. Ewers Prize for Ethnohistorical Writing in 2006 from the Western History Association.[10]

Deloria additionally produced, directed, and edited PBS program Eyanopapi: Heart of the Sioux.[11]

List of selected works[edit]

  • Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-300-08067-4.
  • Indians in Unexpected Places. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. ISBN 978-0-7006-1459-2.
  • Blackwell Companion to American Indian History, ed. Boston: Blackwell Publishers, 2002. ISBN 978-1405121316
  • C.G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions: Dreams, Visions, Nature, and the Primitive, ed. New Orleans: Spring Journal Press, 2009.


  1. ^ a b "Philip J. Deloria". U-M LSA American Culture. University of Michigan. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Journal of San Diego History". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Ella Deloria Archive". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Facts on File History Database". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. ^ Harjo, Suzan Shown, ed. (2014). Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations. Penguin Random House.
  6. ^ "The US-Dakota War of 1862". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Philip Deloria, CV". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b "University of Michigan". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Library Thing". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Western History Association". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  11. ^ "UPenn Libraries". Retrieved 8 May 2014.