Earth Notes: The Legacy Of Tewa Anthropologist And Linguist Edward P. Dozier

Apr 28, 2021

Edward P. Dozier was a pioneering anthropologist and linguist in the 1950’s and 60’s, one of very few Native Americans at that time who were professional, academic anthropologists.

Anthropologist and linguist Edward P. Dozier, Tewa, Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, 1916-1971
Credit anthrosource

Dozier was Tewa, from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. His experience living among and visiting with people from the Hopi Mesas to Taos Pueblo, gave him an authentic and unique perspective in studying Puebloans of the Southwest. Throughout his career, Dozier was careful to balance his roles as a documentarian and a Tewa person in a culture that values privacy and ceremonies not typically shared with outsiders.

He served in the U.S. Army during WWII and earned anthropology degrees from the University of New Mexico, and a PhD from UCLA. While at UNM, Dozier published a detailed study on the verb structure of the Tewa language, the first work of its kind.

Dozier’s teaching career ultimately took him to the University of Arizona in Tucson where he lead the effort to establish an American Indian Studies program. He was the first Native American scholar to receive tenure in an anthropology department at an American university.

The author of several books, Dozier wrote about Puebloan culture and the effects of changing political and socioeconomic circumstances. He was a leading advocate to improve conditions for Native Americans, often testifying at Congressional hearings. Dozier’s obituary in The New York Times said that shortly before his death in 1971, he asked Congress to, “adopt an Indian policy reconcilable with our country’s world role.”