Introducing Founding Executive Director Stephany RunningHawk Johnson


Headshot of James Eric Francis, Sr.

James E. Francis, Sr.
Chair, Local Contexts Council, Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation, Penobscot Nation.

We recently completed a search for our Founding Executive Director, and I am pleased to share that Stephany RunningHawk Johnson has accepted our offer and will begin in her post on December 15, 2023. 

Dr. RunningHawk Johnson is a Citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and was formerly at Washington State University, where she held a position as Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. Her scholarship examines the limitations and possibilities of decolonizing approaches to science education in schools, and explores how changes in educational policy and practice that center Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing have a positive impact on the educational experience, classrooms, and schools of Indigenous students, and potentially for all students. 

Dr. RunningHawk Johnson has taught courses in qualitative research methods, including community participatory action research and Indigenous research methods and methodologies. She has worked on several grant projects, including one that created curriculum for Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, and has worked with members of these Tribes as well as libraries and data management folks to ensure the proper use of and access to culturally sensitive materials. She has worked closely with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to create place-based science curriculums that are culturally relevant and responsive to each group. She also has close ties to the Yakama Nation through work with Heritage University and the Yakama Nation Tribal School. 

Dr. RunningHawk Johnson has a B.S. in Natural Resources with a Specialty in Youth Education and a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from the University of Oregon, and a PhD in Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education from the University of Oregon. 

Please join Local Contexts Council and staff in welcoming Dr. RunningHawk Johnson as our Founding Executive Director.