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cliff trafzer

Dr. Clifford Trafzer

Distinguished Professor of History and Costo Chair in Native American

Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 1973

Research Areas

Native American Social-Cultural History; American West; Oral Traditions; Public History

Contact Information
Department of History
(951) 827-1974

Clifford Trafzer is a Distinguished Professor of History and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs. He received his BA and MA in History from Northern Arizona University and his Ph.D. in 1973 from Oklahoma State University. His fields include Native American History, American West, and Public  History. Most recently he has published Strong Hearts and Healing Hands: Southern California Indians and Field Nurses, 1920-1950 (Arizona, 2021), Willie Boy & The Last Western Manhunt (Coyote Hill Press, 2020), Fighting Invisible Enemies: Health and Medical Transitions among Southern California Indians (Oklahoma 2019), and American Indian Medicine Ways (Arizona 2017). His current research includes a book on támanwit with Snake River-Palouse elder Carrie Jim Schuster and Richard Scheuerman. They previously published River Song: Naxiyamtáma (Snake River-Palouse) Oral Traditions from Mary Jim, Andrew George, Gordon Fisher, and Emily Peone (Washington State University, 2015). He is currently working with two Native graduate students and Lorene Sisquoc of Sherman Indian School Museum on an exhibit featuring the lives of 25 former students who contributed to their people. Trafzer has worked as an archivist, museum curator, and editor. He has taught at Navajo Community College (Diné College), Washington State University, and San Diego State University. He has served on the Native American Heritage Commission, Native American Land Conservancy, San Diego Indian Health Center Board, and California Historical Society Board. He has been a consultant for the National Museum of the American Indian, Riverside Museum, McGraw Hill, National Library of Medicine, and Washington State Historical Society. He has received research funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, and U.S. Department of Education. He worked with the Elder and Cultural Committees of the Fort Yuma Quechan, Yavapai Prescott, Mohave of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, and Chemehuevi of Twenty-Nine Palms, Cabazon Tribe, Colorado River Tribes, and Chemehuevi Tribe to preserve and protect sacred places of the ancestors on the Yuma Proving Ground.