Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear

About Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear

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.

Research Interests

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Indigenous data sovereignty
  • Social demography
  • Social determinants of health
  • Stratification
  • State/nation building

Selected Publications

Rodriguez-Lonebear, D. (2016)."Building a data revolution in Indian Country." In T. Kukutai, &. J.Taylor (Eds.), Indigenous Data Sovereignty: toward an agenda (pp. 253-272). Acton, Australia: ANU press.

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


Forthcoming: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)