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Honors Program

Michelle M. Jacob, PhD

Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies

Michelle Jacob’s interdisciplinary scholarship and personal experiences are deeply intertwined.  As a member of the Yakama Nation, she understands how decolonization is an important priority for indigenous communities.  Thus, she seeks to teach and research in ways that empower communities by working towards social justice.  Her community-based research focuses on her home reservation community (in Washington State) as well as the San Diego-area, where she teaches during the academic year.  Her research areas of interest include: health, education, and decolonization.  In all efforts, she seeks to understand how indigenous peoples can be empowered to heal from wounds inflicted by colonialism.

ETHN 100-01 Syllabus

ETHN 100-02 Syllabus

ETHN 332 Syllabus


Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara; Sociology, with an emphasis in Human Development
M.A., California State University, San Marcos; Sociological Practice

Scholarly and Creative Work

Jacob has published in academic journals (including American Behavioral Scientist; Social Justice; and The Journal of San Diego History) and edited volumes.  Her research has been funded by numerous sources, including American Philosophical Association; National Cancer Institute; Ford Foundation; Women’s Sports Foundation.  She has presented at numerous conferences, including those hosted by the following: Pacific Sociological Association; American Sociological Association; Rutgers University Center for Race and Ethnicity; Yakama Nation; National Indian Education Association; California Indian Education; UCLA Center for the Study of Women; University of Oklahoma; Indian Health Service. 

Jacob has been hosted as a scholar at numerous workshops and mentoring programs, including Centers for Disease Control and American Psychological Association; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Rutgers University Center for Race & Ethnicity; National Institute of Mental Health.

Michelle’s book, Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing, was published in 2013 by the University of Arizona Press as part of the Mellon Foundation-funded First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies Series. It quickly sold out and was printed in paperback in 2014 and is available at:


Teaching Interests

Jacob teaches ethnic identity and American Indian studies courses, including Ethnic Identity in the US; Survey of American Indian Studies; Gender in Native America; American Indian Health and Spirituality; Race and Education; Health, Policy, and Social Justice. 

Her classes utilize an interdisciplinary approach and students in her classes examine diverse topics such as identity, history, social justice, stereotyping, decolonization, community-based research, gender, education, health, spirituality, food, and sports.  She also teaches community-service learning components in her classes, as she partners with the American Indian Recruitment Programs, a grassroots non-profit organization based in San Diego (