Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear (née Small-Rodriguez) is a dual PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona and demography at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Her research interests are social demography, race and ethnicity, state/nation building, health disparities, and stratification. Desi's ongoing research explores Indigenous data sovereignty, including the enumeration and classification of Indigenous peoples in official statistics and tribal data systems. Her dissertation examines the intersection of racial classification, collective identity, and tribal citizenship through the lens of statistical statecraft and nation building.
Desi's dissertation research is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she is a Health Policy Research Scholar. She is committted to data equity as a catalyst to achieving health equity for Indigenous communities.
Desi is the Co-Founder of the U.S. Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN) hosted by the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona. The USIDSN helps ensure that data for and about Indigenous nations and peoples in the U.S. (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians) are utilized to advance Indigenous aspirations for collective and individual wellbeing.
Desi is a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and Chicana. She was raised on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. She has served as a tribal researcher in the United States and Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2013, Desi was appointed to the United States Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. She received both her M.A in Sociology and B.A.(with honors) in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University.
Dissertation Title: "Remaking Collective Identities: Data Sovereignty, Citizenship, and Indigenous Nations"
Dissertation Committee: Steven Cornell (Chair), Erin Leahey, Daniel Martinez, Jane Zavisca