Miriam Jorgensen, PhD

Senior Researcher, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona
Research Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, Harvard University
Graduate Advisor, Indigenous Governance Program

Miriam Jorgensen, a settler scholar, is a Senior Researcher at the University of Arizona Native Nations Institute. At the University of Arizona, she holds the additional titles of Research Scientist at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, Affiliate Faculty at the James E. Rogers College of Law, and Affiliate Faculty in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in American Indian Studies. Jorgensen’s work on Indigenous governance and economic development—in the United States, Canada, and Australia—has addressed issues as wide-ranging as policing and justice systems, child welfare policy, natural-resource management, cultural stewardship, land back, tribal enterprises, housing, financial education, asset building, and philanthropy.

She is an editor and co-author of Creating Private Sector Economies in Native America: Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship (Cambridge University Press 2019), Indigenous Justice: New Tools, Approaches and Spaces (Palgrave Macmillan 2018), and Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (University of Arizona Press 2007); co-author of Structuring Sovereignty: Constitutions of Native Nations (UCLA AIS Press 2014) and The State of the Native Nations: Conditions under US Policies of Self-Determination (Oxford University Press 2008); lead author of the U.S. Treasury Department’s two-part Access to Credit and Capital in Native Communities reports (2016, 2017); lead author of Sustaining and Advancing Indigenous Cultures: Field Surveys and Summits, 2021 (Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums 2022); and provided report-writing support to both the Indian Law and Order Commission (2011-2012) and Commission on Native Children (2020-present).

Jorgensen co-founded the University of Arizona Indigenous Governance program and helps advise students pursuing the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Indigenous Governance degree. She also co-founded the Association for Economic Research of/by/with/for Indigenous Peoples and presently serves on the organization’s board. She has been a Visiting Scholar in law and in social work at Washington University in St. Louis, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Technology Sydney, Research Professor in the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney, and Professorial Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government. She received her BA in economics from Swarthmore College, MA in human sciences from the University of Oxford, and both an MPP in international development and PhD in political economics from Harvard University.

She grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the territory of the Dakota, Lakota, and Omaha peoples and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, on the homelands of the Osage Nation, Missouria, Illinois Confederacy, and the many other tribes that met and lived at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.