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Emily McDonnell


Emily McDonnell is a proud citizen of the Navajo Nation, and was raised on the reservation. She is an academic, a policy analyst, and storyteller. She completed her first year of her PhD program in American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on cultural tourism, specifically advocating for Indigenous-led tourism as an expression of contemporary identity, collective memory, and a means of sustainable community development. Through her program, Emily is interested in researching American Studies through a global lens by examining tourist attitudes and perceptions of Indigeneity in Guatemala in relation to the Navajo Nation. Emily intends to use mapping as a method to highlight the distinction between Indigenous vs. colonial borders, and how policy, collective memory, and material culture contribute to understanding traditional claims to “place” and identity. She is also a Humanities for the Public Good Fellow at the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs.


Updated May 2022