Our Faculty and Staff
Professor of History
- LA 262
For the past twenty years, Professor Wade Davies has taught courses for both the UM History and Native American Studies departments on Native American history (both colonial and twentieth-century), Indigenous sporting traditions, and research/writing methods. Throughout his teaching career, he has received numerous awards and accolades for his excellence as a classroom instructor and mentor to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Dr. Davies is also an accomplished scholar in the fields of twentieth-century Native American, U.S. Western, and U.S. Sports history. In 2021, he received the John C. Ewers Award from the Western History Association for his book, Native Hoops: The Rise of American Indian Basketball, 1895-1970, which was the first comprehensive history of Indian country’s premier sport. In that book, Davies described the ways that a sport, plied by Christian missionaries and federal employees as a tool of social control and cultural integration, was instead adopted and transformed by Native boarding school students for their own purposes, ultimately becoming the “Rez ball”-incarnation of the sport that embodies Native American experience, identity, and community. Based on this work, Davies has also appeared in documentary films, including an NBA-TV production featuring the Warriors team of Arlee, Montana. He has also authored or co-authored numerous other books, book chapters, and articles related to twentieth-century Native American and U.S. Sports history, including Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century; “We Are Still Here”: American Indians since 1890; and American Indian Sovereignty and Law: An Annotated Bibliography. His most recent projects include an upcoming edited volume on the history of COVID-19 and other pandemics in Native American communities; a comparative analysis of basketball’s influence on both Native American and overseas populations in the context of American colonialism; and a study of the shady business of promoting barnstorming basketball in the early twentieth-century United States.
As a graduate advisor, Dr. Davies welcomes students focusing on Native American or Western History, and particularly those specializing in the history of Native athletics, health care, or any twentieth-century topics. In addition, he advises students pursuing research interests related to American sports history.
The history of Native sporting traditions, Medical care in Native communities, and the early twentieth-century development of Basketball
Field of Study
Native American History; History of the American West; the History of Sports; History of Healing & Medicine
Native Hoops: The Rise of American Indian Basketball, 1895-1970. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2020. -winner of 2021 John C. Ewers Award
"How Native Americans Made Basketball Their Own." Zocalo Public Square (April 15, 2020).
Co-authored with Peter Iverson. We Are Still Here: American Indians since 1890. New York: Wiley, 2015.
"American Indian Sports: A Historical Overview." In American Indians and Popular Culture, Volume 1, Media, Sports, and Politics, ed. Elizabeth DeLaney Hoffman, 243-61. Santa Barbara, CA: Prager, 2012.
"How Boarding School Basketball Became Indian Basketball." In American Indians and Popular Culture, Volume 1, Media, Sports, and Politics, ed. Elizabeth DeLaney Hoffman, 263-78. Santa Barbara, CA: Prager, 2012.
"'We Are Looking for a Splendid Tournament Here': Sharon Mote's Quest to Promote Indian School Basketball, 1927-1929." South Dakota History 41 (Summer 2011): 199-225.
Co-edited with Rich Clow. American Indian Sovereignty and Law: An Annotated Bibliography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
Co-authored with Rich Clow, “The St. Francis Mission Indians and the National Interscholastic Catholic Basketball Tournament, 1924-1941.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 23 (March 2006): 213-31.
“Western Medicine and Navajo Healing: Conflict and Compromise” In The Politics of Healing, ed. Robert Johnston. New York: Routledge Press, 2004.
“Clyde James”; “Egbert Ward”; “Wilson Charles” In Encyclopedia of Native Americans and Sports, ed. C. Richard King. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharp Inc., 2004.
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.
“Cornell’s Field Seminar in Applied Anthropology: Social Scientists and American Indians in the Post-war Southwest.” Journal of the Southwest, 43 (Autumn 2001): 317-41.
Co-Author with Peter Iverson. “American-Indian Identities in the Twentieth Century.” Organization of American Historians, Magazine of History, 9 (Summer 1995): 15-21.