Leola Tsinnajinnie, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Native American Studies

Diné and Filipino

Photo: Leola Tsinnajinnie
505 277-3917
Mesa Vista Hall Room 3093; Office Hours: WED 1:30-3:30, schedule via email
BS Sociology, University of Arizona; MA American Indian Studies, University of Arizona; ED Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies, University of New Mexico

Research Interests:

  • Indigenous Education
  • Native Student Conceptions of Nation Building
  • Decolonization


Leola Tsinnajinnie, Ph.D. (Filipino and Diné) born for the Táchii’nii (Red Running Into The Water) clan.   She is also married into Tamaya (Santa Ana Pueblo).  She is a member of the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter of the Navajo Nation where she was raised.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona.  Her doctorate concentration is in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies from the College of Education at the University of New Mexico.  Her areas of focus are Indigenous Education, Decolonization, and Native Student Conceptions of Nation Building.

Her dissertation study, “Examining the Indigenous Relationship Between Education and the United States’ Military from 2001-2009,” led to a Postdoctoral Diversity Fellowship at UNM with Native American Studies (NAS) and the Division for Equity and Inclusion in 2011-2012.  From 2012 to 2015, she taught at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute as a Social Sciences Instructor where she worked on the growth of Native American Studies at the tribal college; community engagement and Nation Building in the general education curriculum; and was an active participant in several grant projects.  She recently served as a Summer Policy Academy II Faculty Member for the Leadership Institute of Santa Fe Indian School in 2015 where she enjoys an ongoing relationship with the school community.  Leola has also taught as a Teaching/Graduate Assistant at the University of Arizona and UNM as well as an Adjunct Instructor for the Institute of American Indian Arts, UNM Gallup, and UNM. 

She joined UNM’s NAS Program full-time in the fall of 2015 as an Assistant Professor.  She has a passion for teaching and working with Native Studies’ students. She is thrilled to have joined the NAS community full-time and to further pursue her research on the various pathways of Native youth in Indigenous Education.