Mikal Eckstrom learned to tie his shoes at tribal head start on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho. His ancestry includes Nimiipuu, Norwegian, and German bloodlines.
Mikal is a Research Assistant Professor and director of the Black Homesteader Project at the Center for Great Plains Studies. He, along with Drs. Richard Edwards and Jacob Friefeld have a book under contract that trace the lives of Black homesteaders in six communities on the Great Plains.
His dissertation focused on two marginalized groups: Indigenous Peoples and American Jews in the North American West, 1850-1930. Spanning almost one hundred years, this work examines how immigrant Jews were part of a larger settler colonial schema in the North American West, and how whiteness, allotment, and intimate colonialism, shaped the relationship between American Jews and Indigenous Peoples.
Mikal is a Ford Foundation Fellow, a Rapaport Fellow at the American Jewish Archives, a Center for Digital Research in the Humanities Graduate Incubator Fellow, and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholar.
Eckstrom has interned at the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian in the Education Department in 2009 and worked on the Letters Project, a collection that contains over 3,000 items stemming from the Shoah.
His written work includes pieces in The Wall Street Journal, Great Plains Quarterly, and a co-authored chapter with Margaret Jacobs in ” in Why You Can’t Teach United States History Without American Indians (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).
Mikal works to support the Native American Rights Fund, the Indian Land Tenure Fund, the American Indian College Fund, and the Sheldon Fellowship Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation.