James DeSpain

DeSpain, S. Matt

B.A., Brigham Young University
M.A., University of Oklahoma
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Areas of Expertise:

  •         Native American History
  •         Fur Trappers and Traders
  •         Oklahoma History
  •         Indian Mascots and Stereotypes
  •         History of the American West
  •         Federal Indian Policy and Sovereignty

 Dr. S. Matthew DeSpain is Professor of History and Director of Native American Studies at Rose State College.  Before joining the Rose State faculty Dr. DeSpain taught at the University of Oklahoma in both the Native American Studies Program and in the Department of History. 

His teaching interests cover both NAS and history disciplines and include courses in the American West, American Indian history, the American Southwest, Federal Indian Policy and Sovereignty, Native American philosophy, Introduction to Native American Studies, Oklahoma History, and Oklahoma Tribal Histories. 

Research interests include the American fur trade, cross-cultural violence in the West, Indian mascots and stereotypes, Native Americans in American popular culture, Native American forest firefighters, Paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys), Oklahoma environmental history, Chickasaw history, and the History of the Oklahoma City Zoo.  He was founding editor of Native Matters: The Journal of Native American Studies, published by the University of Oklahoma and former editor of the Chickasaw Nation’s Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture.  He also works with the Museum of the Mountain Man and The Journal of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade. His own publications included Fur Trappers and Traders of the Far Southwest and numerous articles on Native American history and culture, the American West, the American Fur trade, Oklahoma history, and American popular culture topics. 

When not teaching and writing about history, Dr. DeSpain enjoys fly fishing, rock climbing, hiking, white water kayaking, playing the blues (bass), and playing the bagpipes!