“Alan Marshall has established strong and trusting relationships with the Nez Perce over several decades of teaching and research at Lewis-Clark State College".
IHC Chair Katherine Aiken, Dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho
Recipient of the Idaho Humanities Council 2013 Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award
After earning his Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington State University in 1977, Marshall began his career at LCSC a year later, teaching courses and building relationships with Nez Perce tribal historians, elders, and other leaders to better interpret tribal culture and history. Over thirty years, he taught hundreds of students, but he also committed himself to quiet, unheralded work interpreting treaties with the Nez Perce regarding hunting, fishing, and water rights, for federal, state, and local agencies.Most significant is his role, in collaboration with Nez Perce tribal elders, in bringing Nez Perce language instruction to LCSC.
As one colleague remarked, while few schools teach Native languages—and most that do offer languages for which there is a considerable body of written material—Marshall and the elders persevered. Today, LCSC students may take Nez Perce to satisfy the general language requirement. Students may even earn a minor in Nez Perce.
As part of his consulting work, Marshall has written several major reports that detail the Nez Perce tribe’s conception of and interaction with the environment. Through his work Marshall has served as an informed source and cultural guide through traditional Nez Perce ways
“Alan’s work has been exemplary and is worthy of recognition,” said colleague Christopher Riggs, LCSC professor of history and a member of the Idaho Humanities Council. “His commitment is passionate and his work in the field has benefited tribal culture and the academic professions of teaching and research.”
IHC Chair Katherine Aiken, Dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho adds, “His work is inspiring, and his legacy is a program that promotes cross-cultural understanding and the preservation of the Nez Perce language.”
Now retired, Marshall continues his research and work with the Nez Perce.
The Idaho Humanities Council (IHC) is a non-profit organization serving as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The IHC is dedicated to serving Idaho citizens by promoting greater public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities.
The Council accomplishes its mission by awarding grants to organizations statewide, and by working with organizations as partners to develop local humanities projects and programs, and by sponsoring its own Council-conducted programs, such as summer institutes in the humanities for K-12 teachers, library reading/discussion programs in small communities, traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution, a Humanities Speakers Bureau, Distinguished Humanities Lectures, and other projects and programs limited only by the imagination.