College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Dr. Lillian Ackerman


Ph.D., Washington State University
Adjunct Faculty
Cultural Anthropology

Lillian A. Ackerman [Adjunct Faculty] is an ethnographer specializing in the Plateau Culture Area. She pursues academic and contract research full-time. She received a B.A. (1950) and M.A. (1951) in anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. (1982) in anthropology from WSU. Dr. Ackerman has been conducting field investigations of varying lengths on the Colville Reservation in 1988 and another on the Nez Perce Reservation in 1990 on the subject of extended family organization and land tenure. Earlier Research was conducted on the Nez Perce Reservation in 1965. Her dissertation work pioneered gender studies in the Plateau and demonstrated that gender equality exists on the Colville Indian Reservation and the rest of the Plateau. Other major research demonstrates the existence of nonunilinear descent groups in the Plateau, which explains the complexity of Plateau culture despite the simple band organization that prevails. The discovery of nonunilinear descent groups in a hunting-gathering society opens up new theoretical grounds in anthropology, and the resulting article was published by the American Ethnologist in its May 1994 issue.

Representative Publications

2003 A Necessary Balance: Gender and Power among Indians of the Columbia Plateau. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.

1996 (editor) A Song to the Creator: Traditional Arts of Native American Women of the Plateau. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.

1996 Plateau Women and Their Culture. In A Song to the Creator; Traditional Arts of Native American Women of the Plateau, edited by Lillian Ackerman, pp. 5-15. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.

1996 Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Federal and Tribal Lands in the Lake Roosevelt Area Concerning the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation. Project Report No. 30, Center for Northwest Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.

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