Beth Leonard

Alaska Native Studies
SSB 376
(907) 786-6140


I am Deg Xit’an Athabascan and member of the Shageluk Tribe of interior Alaska. My father is James Dementi, who was raised in a traditional subsistence lifestyle. My mother is the late Reverend Jean Dementi, originally from California. 

My research interests include Indigenous Knowledge systems and methodologies, Dena/Athabascan oral traditions and languages, Indigenous higher education, and Alaska Native teacher preparation. From 2008-12 I served as PI of the Alaska Native Teacher Preparation Project and am currently co-PI of a National Science Foundation funded project “Factors Related to Teacher Retention in Arctic Alaska, an Integral Part of the Circumpolar North.”   

In 2014 I was based at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), Te Kawa a Māui-School of Māori Studies on a Fulbright US Core Teaching/Research Scholarship. I co-instructed a joint UAF/VUW videoconference course “Indigenous Knowledge[s] and Science” with my faculty host, Ocean Mercier and conducted collaborative, participatory research on the development and enhancement of Māori and Indigenous spaces at VUW.


Leonard, B. & Mercier, O. (2014). Shaping Indigenous spaces in higher education: An international, virtual exchange on Indigenous knowledge (Alaska and Aotearoa). Canadian Journal of Native Education. 37(1), 218-238.

Leonard, B., Breinig, J., Carpluk, L., Lind, S., & Williams, M. (Eds.). (2014). Transforming the university: Alaska Native studies in the 21st century. Minneapolis, MN: Two Harbors Press.

Leonard, B. (2014). Why do we need an Alaska Native studies council? In B. Leonard, J. Breinig, L. Carpluk, S. Lind & M. Williams (Eds.) Transforming the University: Alaska Native Studies in the 21st Century – Alaska Native Studies Conference Proceedings 2013 (Anchorage, AK). Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Press. 

Leonard, B. (2013). Indigenous pedagogies in the oral traditions of Belle Deacon. Journal of American Indian Education, 52(3), 3-20.

Brayboy, B., Gough, H., Leonard, B. et. al. (2011). Reclaiming scholarship: Critical Indigenous research methodologies. In S. Lapan et. al (eds.) Qualitative Research (pp. 423-450). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.