Daniel R. Wildcat, Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, is the director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.
He said it was during the first week of his undergraduate classes that he decided he wanted to become a professor.
“I was watching my professors very closely,” he said, “and I got to thinking, Wow, there are jobs where they’ll pay you to read books, to write, to study, to constantly be thinking critically. I thought, This sounds like a pretty good job! And I decided that first week [that] I was going to be a university professor.”
“The tribal colleges and universities really are the heartbeat of our nations, our sovereignty, our future,” he said. “I feel very strongly that our tribal colleges and universities are the most underutilized, the most overlooked, the most underfunded sources of wealth we have in Indian country.”
Last April, he co-chaired the Rights of Mother Earth Symposium with Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network at Haskell. Wildcat said he intends to make the symposium an annual event.