Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear

About Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear (née Small-Rodriguez) is pursuing dual PhDs 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, health, and social stratification. Her ongoing research explores racial and ethnic identity formation and classification in U.S. official statistics. She examines how American Indian identity is stratified by both external and internal forces, and seeks to empower American Indian tribes with relevant and responsive tribal data systems. She serves as a Graduate Research Associate at the Native Nations Institute (NNI) in the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. Her doctoral research is supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar Fellowship and the National Congress of American Indians' Doctoral Data Fellowship. Desi received both her both M.A. ('08) in Sociology and B.A.H. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity ('07) from Stanford University.

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.

Research Interests

  • Race and ethnic identity 
  • Demography of Indigenous peoples
  • Social stratification

Selected Publications

Small-Rodriguez, D. (2012) "For Researchers Working with Native Communities: Reflections from a Native Researcher." Walk Softly and Listen Carefully: Building Research Relationships with Tribal Communities Washington, DC: National Congress of American Indians, pp.21

Walling, J., Small-Rodriguez, D., and Kukutai, T. (2009) “Tallying Tribes: Waikato-Tainui in the Census and Iwi Register.” New Zealand Journal of Social Policy (36), pp. 2-16



Rodriguez-Lonebear, D. (forthcoming) "Building a Data Sovereignty Agenda in Indian Country." Indigenous Data Sovereignty. Ed. T. Kukutai and J. Taylor. Canberra: Australia National University Press, 2016.

Kukutai, T., Broman, P., and Rodriguez-Lonebear, D. (forthcoming) Alternative Census Models: Implications for Indigenous Data Collections. Journal of Population Research.

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear's picture

Contact Information

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear
(née Small-Rodriguez)