Alex Ruuska


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Researcher Bio

Alex Ruuska, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Phone : 906-227-2030

Office : 143 Gries Hall

E-mail :


BA, BS Rocky Mountain College (Billings, MT) MA Seattle University (Seattle, WA) MA, PhD University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)

I am interested in collective healing practices utilized by North American indigenous communities from the protohistoric through the present. To this end I study place, ritual performance, social memory, embodiment, power, identity, oral traditions, and social movements.

My theoretical and methodological frameworks are informed by educational and fieldwork experiences gleaned from sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, Native American Studies, and existential-phenomenological psychology.

For the past six years I have worked at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. In this capacity I have worked in the Caribbean and through North America. For two years I conducted fieldwork in the out islands of the Bahamas to explore environmental perception, traditional ecological knowledge systems, and the viability of Marine Protected Areas. Within North America I have collaborated extensively with multiple indigenous representatives from Paiute, Shoshone, and Mojave Communities of the Great Basin and Mojave Desert, as well as Shasta and Wintu of Northern California, and the La Courte Oreilles Ojibway of Wisconsin. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work with Blackfeet, Zuni, and Acoma Pueblo Communities on a broad spectrum of ethnographic and ethnohistorical research as well as consultation in compliance with Native American legislation.


PRIME, interdisciplinary, research, sociology