Brenda J. Child is Northrop Professor of American Studies and former chair of the Departments of American Studies (2016-19) and the Department of American Indian Studies (2009-12).

She is the author of award-winning books of American Indian history, including Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940, (1998), which won the North American Indian Prose Award; Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community, (2012); Indian Subjects: Hemispheric Perspectives on the History of Indigenous Education (with Brian Klopotek, 2014). Her 2014 book My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation won the American Indian Book Award and the Best Book in Midwestern History. Child's book for children, Bowwow Powwow (2018), won the American Indian Youth Literature Award for best picture book.

She served as a member of the board of trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian and was President (2017-2018) of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association. Child was born on the Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota where she served as a member of a committee writing a new constitution for the 12,000-member nation.

Educational Background & Specialties
Open Close

Educational Background

  • PhD: History, University of Iowa, 1993
  • MA: History, University of Iowa, 1983
  • BS Ed: History & Social Studies, Bemidji State University, 1981


  • American Indian history
  • Public History and Museums
  • Ojibwe People of the Great Lakes
  • American Indian Women and Labor
  • The History of American Indian Education