ASU history alumna awarded Phillips Fund for Native American Research grant


Rachel Bunning

Alumna Monika Bilka received her PhD in history from ASU in 2015. She is currently the lead history faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and has won a grant from the Phillips Fund for Native American Research.

The Phillips Fund of the American Philosophical Society provides grants for research in Native American linguistics, ethnohistory and the history of studies of Native Americans and prefers to support the work of younger scholars who have received a doctorate. The average award is about $3,200.

With the grant, Bilka will be revising her manuscript, “Remaking a People, Restoring a Watershed: Klamath Tribal Empowerment through Natural Resource Governance.” The book discusses the history of the Klamath Tribe in southern Oregon.

“Much of what has been written about the Klamath Tribes in southern Oregon focuses on the negative outcomes of a federal policy known as termination in the 1950s and 1960s,” Bilka said.  “Termination transferred the Klamaths' reservation out of tribal ownership and ended all federal trust funding for the Klamaths' education, health and other social programs. My study acknowledges the negative outcomes while offering a much-needed analysis of the Klamath Tribes' empowerment in the decades that followed termination. Today the Klamaths are leading natural resource stakeholders in the transboundary Klamath River Watershed. ‘Remaking a People, Restoring a Watershed’ analyzes the strategies and tools that the Klamaths employed to reach that status.”

Being awarded this grant will allow Bilka to complete more research and has given her time to prepare the manuscript for publication.

“This grant is supporting my research trips this summer to the National Archives in Seattle, Wash. and to southern Oregon to conduct more oral histories,” Bilka said. “Winning this award is helping me fulfill my goal of completing my book manuscript for publication.  It is also helping me fulfill my commitment to complete research that is useful for the Klamath Tribes in southern Oregon.”

Bilka appreciates the opportunity to complete her book and would like to extend her gratitude to her ASU mentors: Professors Donald Fixico, Paul Hirt, Rebecca Tsosie, Susan Gray, Katherine Osburn, and Victoria Thompson.