Don served the Department of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge since 2001. He passed into the spirit world in the early hours of Friday, September 7, 2012. He will be greatly missed.
At this time, a formal memorial service is yet to be finalized. This notice will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.
Don Birchfield was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Prior to teaching at the University of Lethbridge, Don taught American Indian studies at Cornell University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
He served as book review editor for Studies In American Indian Literatures (SAIL), Native Americas, and News From Indian Country, and is a former editor of Camp Crier at the Oklahoma City Native American Center.
His Oklahoma Basic Intelligence Test (Greenfield Review Center, 1998) won the First Book Award For Prose from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, and his Field of Honor (U of OK P, 2004) won the Writer of the Year award from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers and the Spur Award for Best First Novel from Western Writers of America.
His other books include Black Silk Handkerchief: A Hom-Astubby Mystery (U of OK P, 2006) and nineteen textbooks for children from educational publishers.
Don was a founding member of the National Advisory Caucus of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. He was General Editor of the eleven-volume Encyclopedia of North American Indians (Marshall Cavendish, 1997).
In 2007, he was the Distinguished Lecturer at the 84th annual convention of the Central States Anthropological Society. His most recent book, How Choctaws Invented Civilization and Why Choctaws Will Conquer The World (U of NM P, 2007), treats American history, American Indian law and policy, Choctaw history, and academe as objects of satire.
In consideration of our friend, instructor, and faculty member, Don Birchfield, an extra elder session is available on Wednesday, September 12th from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm in the Elder and Ceremonial room - A430.
Elder Francis First Charger will be available to assist and share in your stories or concerns.
In addition, we offer you the following services available at the University of Lethbridge:
1) Elizabeth Ferguson, Native Student Advisor, is available for consultation (phone 403- 317-2812 , room SU-140K)
2) Chaplain Erin Phillips is available on Monday, September 10 from 11-4 in AH173 or can be contacted by phone at (403) 317-2849 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) For students, Counseling Services will offer grief counseling during the following times: 9–12 and 1-4 in TH 217, or by phone at 403-317-2845 . If you need to talk to someone for support outside of those hours, please phone the Distress Line at 403-327-7905.
For faculty and staff, grief counseling is available through our Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Call 1-800-663-1142 or contact them online at https://www.homewoodhumansolutions.com/ to make arrangments.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173