Theresa McCarthy


headshot of Dr. Theresa McCarthy.

Theresa McCarthy


Theresa McCarthy


Six Nations Onondaga, Beaver Clan
Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence
Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies
Director of Indigenous Studies


  • PhD, Cultural Anthropology, McMaster University (2006)


Theresa McCarthy is an Onondaga nation, Beaver clan citizen of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. She is the author of In Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Reclamation at Grand River which won the 2017 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s Best First Book Prize. Theresa’s research and teaching interests reside in the areas of Haudenosaunee citizenship/clans, Haudenosaunee/Six Nations land rights and sovereignty, Haudenosaunee languages and intellectual traditions, Haudenosaunee women, the historiography of anthropological research on the Iroquois, Haudenosaunee temporalities, queer Haudenosaunee studies, linguistic research methodologies, and community-based/applied research. Theresa has published articles in American Indian Culture and Research Journal and Histories of Anthropology Annual. She recently worked on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council- funded archival project that digitized and repatriated an extensive collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century ethnographic material collected from Six Nations community members. She also worked as a co-producer on an educational documentary about the 2006 Haudenosaunee land reclamation near Caledonia, Ontario. For these, and other contributions, Theresa is recognized as Associate Professor /Iakorihonnién:ni of Indigenous Research at Six Nations. 

Theresa is currently Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, and she is Director of UB Indigenous, a campus wide hub for Indigenous research, student and community engagement. She is also the Principal Coordinator for the UB Haudenosaunee-Native American Studies Research Group, which she co-founded with the late Barry White (Seneca), and the late Bob Antone (Oneida) in 2008. A longtime advocate for the revitalization of Indigenous languages, Theresa has worked on reinstating Haudenosaunee language courses at UB, and on building relationships with nearby Haudenosaunee communities in support of Indigenous language learning. She is currently a Principal Co-Investigator and the Indigenous lead on a 3.2 million dollar grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation supporting the formation of the new Indigenous Studies Department at UB. Theresa is also Principal Investigator on a new Mellon Foundation sponsored project to establish digital Haudenosaunee Archive and Resource Collection. She is both grateful and proud to be living and working here on Seneca Nation territory. 

Current Research

Professor McCarthy is currently working on a co-edited volume titled, Ohahase:ˀ Nęswehdahk neˀ Ǫgwehǫ:weh Ęyagodrihwi̲hsago hǫ:gyeˀ (New Paths to go Down for Research about/by Indigenous People): Haudenosaunee Intellectual Traditions. Contributors to this volume discuss how their work reclaims Haudenosaunee intellectual traditions by focusing on the community-based contexts of Haudenosaunee cosmology, resistance, diplomacy, and land tenure.

Professor McCarthy is also conducting research for her second major book project on Haudenosaunee women’s leadership in contemporary times. This new work examines Haudenosaunee women’s political theorizing and action in three areas: land and environmental protection, antiviolence work, and youth advocacy. Her book explores how Haudenosaunee women uphold our responsibilities to creation, to each other, and to future generations, and how these actions maintain and further Haudenosaunee sovereignty in the present.

Professor McCarthy is also completing new publications on Haudenosaunee temporalities, on queer readings of Haudenosaunee material culture, and on contemporary conflicts involving the Gaya’shra’gowa and Canadian law. 

Selected Publications

  • The Gaya’shra’gowa’ in the 21st Century: Traditional Indigenous Governance and the problem of Canadian Setter Colonial Law. In Indigenous Spirituality and Religious Freedom. Jeffery Hewitt, Beverly Jacobs, and Richard Moon, eds, University of Toronto Press, forthcoming Fall 2022
  • In Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Reclamation at Grand River. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2016.
  • De nis nisahsgaoden?: Haudenosaunee Clans and the Reconstruction of Traditional Haudenosaunee Identity and Nationhood” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 2010.
  • “Iroquoian and Iroquoianist: Anthropologists and the Haudenosaunee at Grand River.” Histories of Anthropology Annual, Volume 4, 2008.

Awards and Grants

  • PI– Building a Haudenosaunee archive and resource collection at UB: Centering Haudenosaunee Partnerships and Data Sovereignty (Planning Grant). Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Public Knowledge Program, 2021
  • CoPI - Establishing an Indigenous Studies Department at University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2019
  • UB Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellowship, 2017-2019.
  • Best First Book Prize - Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), 2017  

Courses Taught

  • Gender, Sexuality, Indigeneity 
  • Honoring Indigenous Women
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Methodology
  • Onkwehonwe Sovereignty and Nation Building
  • Critical Readings in Indigenous Scholarship
  • American Indian Resistance
  • Six Nations Peoples in Contemporary Times
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Futures 

Professional Activities

  • Interim Co-Director, UB Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program
  • Member, Office of the President, University Police Advisory Committee
  • Member, Presidents Advisory Council on Race: Inclusive Space Subcommittee
  • Co-founder/Principal Coordinator, UB Haudenosaunee Native American Studies Research Workshop
  • Member, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association