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Dustin Tahmahkera

Associate Professor of American Indian Studies

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    American Indian Studies
    1204 W Nevada Street
    M/C 138
    Urbana, IL 61801
  • Email:


Dr. Tahmahkera, an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, is an interdisciplinary scholar of North American indigeneities, critical media, and sound.

Tahmahkera's first book Tribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) foregrounds representations of the indigenous, including Native actors, producers, and comedic subjects, in U.S., First Nations, and Canadian television and other media from the 1930s-2010s within the contexts of federal policy and social activism. His current book project "Comanches in the Media Borderlands" (under contract with the University of Nebraska Press' "Indigenous Films" series) is a cultural history of real and reel Comanches' performative work onscreen and off in the production of what Tahmahkera calls "Comanchería cinema." For more on this research, see his articles "'We're Gonna Capture Johnny Depp!': Making Kin with Cinematic Comanches" in AmericanIndian Culture and Research Journal (UCLA Press) and "Haaka tsa Kwitop Hahka?: Seeking Representational Jurisdiction in Comanchería Cinema" forthcoming in Native American and Indigenous Studies(University of Minnesota Press).

Another project is "Sounds Indigenous: Listening for Sonic Sovereignty in Indian Country" on the transnational and transtribal migrations of sound and music in indigenous homelands and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. On Indigenous Peoples Day in 2017, the site Sounding Out!  published Tahmahkera's "Becoming Sound: Tubitsinakukuru from Mt. Scott to Standing Rock." For his earlier work in indigenous sound studies, see "'An Indian in a White Man’s Camp': Johnny Cash's Indian Country Music" in the special Sound issue of American Quarterly.

Professor Tahmahkera serves on the Editorial Board of Cinema Journal, the official journal of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. He also consults on film projects, curates Indigenous film series (e.g., Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, 2018), and writes curriculum guides (LaDonna Harris: Indian 101  and Through the Repellent Fence) for Vision Maker Media and PBS documentaries. He also has delivered invited talks, such as the 2017 annual Shaw Lecture in American Studies at Dickinson College, and recently completed a three-year term on the Community Advisory Board of KLRU, the Austin-based affiliate of PBS.