History Department
History Department

Dr. Kelli Mosteller named one of the "50 Women Making a Difference”

Sun, December 3, 2017
Dr. Kelli Mosteller named one of the
Dr. Kelli Mosteller (Ph.D., UT History, ’13), Director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center, in Shawnee, OK

History alumna Dr. Kelli Mosteller has been named one of 2017's "50 Women Making a Difference” by The Journal Record. The publication spotlights community and business leaders across the state of Oklahoma annually, this year celebrating their accomplishments with a gala on Oct. 26 in Oklahoma City. The Journal Record named several Native American women as honorees for Woman of the Year award including Mosteller.

Mosteller, whose dissertation ”Place, Politics, and Property: Negotiating Allotment and Citizenship for the Citizen Potawatomi, 1861-1891” was supervised by Professor Erika M. Bsumek and who served as Not Even Past’s first assistant editor, is currently the Director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She earned her Ph.D. in History at UT Austin in 2013.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Hownikan noted that “Kelli Mosteller is … perhaps one of the most recognizable names representing the tribe. While earning her doctorate, Mosteller took on her current role as director of the Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, after Citizen Potawatomi Vice-Chairman Linda Capps approached her about the position in 2010. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University and a master’s in American history from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, Mosteller decided to continue her education at UT, obtaining a doctorate in American history with an emphasis on Indigenous studies. Much of her research focus was Potawatomi history. Being a tribal member, she said she had ‘skin in the game’ when it came to her studies.”

Kelli Mosteller“It’s such an honor to be considered someone who is doing a great service,” Mosteller told the Hownikan. “I’m really passionate about the work I do … I feel like I became a better scholar because of it; because I had to work through some things and get upset, and then get over it and get back to the process of looking at the source material and trying to get what was really there,” Mosteller said. “I think it was much more challenging personally, but I’m really glad I made that decision.”

Left: Dr. Kelli Mosteller speaking at the "50 Women Making a Difference” gala on Oct. 26 in Oklahoma City, OK.

“The passion that drove her to earn a doctorate continues to push her to take on additional roles for Citizen Potawatomi Nation,” the article continues. “She also is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, a gaming commissioner and a member of several Blue Zones committees for Potawatomie County. Mosteller said she tries to make an impact every day, especially with community outreach projects such as participation in local 29 Blue Zones projects, an organization designed to help people live longer, healthier lives while lowering health care costs in cities across the United States.”

“It has a ripple effect. The health of native tribes makes an impact on the state,” she said. “As the largest employer in the county, when we have a healthy, vibrant community, it impacts everywhere around us.”

Last year, Mosteller published an article in The Atlantic, and was interviewed by Wisconsin NPR affiliate WPR, bringing an historian’s perspective on the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy. Read the full story here.

Read more about Mosteller and this prestigious honor in The Journal Record's "2017 50 Making a Difference / Woman of the Year" publication.

Congratulations to Dr. Kelli Mosteller on this richly-deserved recognition!

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