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Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy

Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy

  • Dean, Carlos Montezuma Professor of Education and Social Policy


Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (Lumbee) is dean of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Education and Social Policy.

His 25-year academic career has been characterized as an investment in people within higher education and the work they will do with its resources, well beyond the institution.

Brayboy is well known for his rich theoretical grounding and rigorous research methods, as well as his humor, humility, and genuine enthusiasm for his work.

His most influential scholarship is Tribal Critical Race Theory or TribalCrit, a groundbreaking framework he developed in 2005. TribalCrit is a framework to examine relationships among how race, power, and indigenous tribal sovereignty intersect.

In addition to TribalCrit, a globally cited classic in Indigenous studies, Brayboy’s research on Indigenous knowledge systems in schools helps explain how people learn, teach, and define themselves in relationship with powerful systems and structures.

Brayboy came to Northwestern from Arizona State University, where he was the President’s Professor in the School of Social Transformation and vice president of social advancement. He also served as senior advisor to the president, director of the Center for Indian Education, and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. 

From 2007 to 2012, he was visiting President’s Professor of Indigenous Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

A member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Brayboy’s research focuses on intersecting knowledge systems that illuminate how institutional structures hinder and enable the success of underserved students, staff, and faculty. An anthropologist by training,

Brayboy is also concerned about how culture and cultural practices can support Indigenous students and communities.

He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly documents, including nine edited or authored volumes, dozens of articles, book chapters, and policy briefs for the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.

He has been a visiting and noted scholar in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway. His work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Ford, Mellon, Kellogg, and Spencer Foundations, and several other private and public foundations and organizations. 

Over the past 17 years, he and his team have helped prepare more than 165 Native teachers to work in American Indian communities and more than 24 American Indian PhDs.

Brayboy earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and his master’s and PhD (with distinction) at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the father of two sons.


  • PhD with Distinction, University of Pennsylvania, 1999
  • Intercultural Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 1995
  • Political Science, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1990

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2024 Elected to the American Educational Research Association's council and executive board.
  • 2023 George and Louise Spindler Award from the American Anthropological Association’s Council on Anthropology and Education
  • 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Servant-Leadership Award, Arizona State University
  • 2021 Co-Chair, Indigenous Education Initiative, Spencer Foundation 
  • 2021 Panel Member, National Academy of Education, Civic Education Report Committee 
  • 2020 Fellow, PLuS Alliance 
  • 2018 Member, National Academy of Education
  • 2018 Fellow, American Educational Research Association 
  • 2017 Rosa Parks Award, American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity 
  • 2017 G. Mike Charleston Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Indigenous Education, Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association  

Selected Publications

Vaught, S.E., Brayboy, B. McK. J., & Chin, J.A. (2022). The School Prison Trust. University of Minnesota Press.

Blackhawk, N., Brayboy, B. McK., J, Deloria, P.J., Ghilglione, L., Lomawaima, K.T., Medin, D., and Trahant, M. (2018). The American Indian: Obstacles and Opportunities. Daedulus.

Brayboy, B. McK. J. (2023). Through My Body and In My Heart: A Primer. Bank Street College Occasional Paper Series. Manuscript 1482

Brayboy, B. McK. J. (2022). A New Day Must Begin: Tribal Nation Building and Higher Education. Journal of American Indian Education. 60(3): 95-113.

Brayboy, B.McK.J & Tachine, A.R. (2021). Myths, Erasure, and Violence: The Immoral Triad of the Morrill Act. NAIS. 8(1): 139-144.  

Litts, B.K., Searle, K.A., Brayboy, B.McK.J, Kafai, Y.B. (2020). Computing for All?: Examining critical biases in computational tools for learning. British Journal of Educational Technology.

Brayboy, B. McK. J. & Chin, J.A. (2020). Being and Indigenousness: An Essay on the Development of Terrortory. Contexts. 19(3): 22-27. 

Brayboy, B. McK. J. & Maughan, E. (2009).  Indigenous Epistemologies and Teacher Education:  The Story of the Bean. Harvard Educational Review. 79(1), 1-21. 

Anderson, J. D. Bang, M. Brayboy, B.McK.J, de los Rios, C.V., Guitiérrez, K.D., Hicks, D., Ho, L, Lee, C.D., Lee, S. J., Santiago, M., Walker, V.D., Williamson-Lott, J.A. (2021). Agency and resilience in the face of challenge as civil action: Lessons learned across ethnic communities. In C.D. Lee, G. White, and D. Dong (Eds.) Educating for Civic Reasoning and Discourse. Washington DC: National Academy of Education.

Brayboy, B. McK. J. (2015).  Views on Indigenous Leadership.  In R. Minthorn & A. Chavez (Eds.). Indigenous Leadership in Higher Education (pp 49-58).  New York: Routledge.