David Kamper, Ph.D.

KamperProfessor and Undergraduate Adviser
Email: [email protected] | Office: AL-329

David Kamper has a Master's in American Indian Studies and a Ph.D. in Anthropology, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests are American Indian political economy; economic development; tribal sovereignty; race, gender, & culture in sports; labor studies; and American cultural studies. His first book, The Work of Sovereignty: Labor Activism and Self-Determination at the Navajo Nation offers an historical and ethnographic account of tribal labor relations. It explores how employees of the Navajo Area Indian Health Service use grassroots and labor activism to secure a voice in Navajo Nation politics. His research looks at how tribal self-determination is envisioned and enacted at the grassroots level as well as the tribal nation-state level. Currently he is working on a manuscript entitled Sporting Native Wellness: How American Indians Build Communities of Healing through Basketball, Skateboarding, and Golf which considers three very popular recreational activities (basketball, golf, skateboarding) in Indian Country and how participation in these sports promotes individual and communal health and wellness combating inter-generational trauma derived from settler colonialism. In Sporting Native Wellness he chronicles Indian communities’ use of basketball, golf, and skateboarding for implicit and explicit goals of mending society. These stories of Native participation in sport illustrate how indigenous people revive tradition and revitalize culture by engaging popular American culture for their own purposes of creating new indigenous practices of meaning. He also has interest in issues of the ways in which mainstream culture represents Indigenous peoples and the effects of these dominant representations. He has edited a book on American Indian casino gaming entitled Indian Gaming: Who Wins?.