Professional Profile

James M. McClurken, PhD
Dr. James M. McClurken is the founder and President of McClurken Research. Dr. McClurken has studied the history and culture of Great Lakes indigenous communities professionally since 1977. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from William James College at Grand Valley State University in 1978 and went on to study for a Master of Arts degree at Michigan State University. Dr. McClurken completed his Ph.D. in anthropology at MSU with specialties in history and culture of North America in 1988. Dr. McClurken created his first ethnohistorical research company in 1988 and incorporated in 1998. For 30 years, Dr. McClurken has researched historical and anthropological issues raised by North American Tribes, for North American tribes.

Besides serving as the president of a growing company, Dr. McClurken has researched and reported on a number of topics within his academic specialty. These include research for federal acknowledgment petitions to the United States Department of the Interior, membership and enrollment issues for newly recognized Indian Tribes, the inventory and documentation of treaty-preserved Tribal properties, political successorship to treaty-preserved Tribal properties which include political jurisdiction, hunting and fishing rights, water rights, as well as timber and mineral rights.

During the 30 years of his practice, Dr. McClurken has documented tribal history and culture in many parts of the United States with additional work in Canada. He has worked throughout the United States including in New England, the Southeast, the Great Lakes and Great Plains areas, the Great Basin in Utah, Nevada, and California, as well as in California’s Central Valley and along the California coast. He has authored ethnohistorical reports, affidavits, and provided expert testimony to committees of the United States Congress and testified in federal courts.

Dr. McClurken has also conducted hundreds of interviews with Tribe members to preserve cultural understanding of Native American lives during the twentieth century. Materials from Dr. McClurken’s interviews have been used in award-winning documentaries, in preparation of educational materials used throughout the United States, and have formed the basis for several community histories authored for Tribes. The interviews and corresponding documentary records compiled for Tribes have often become community archives that facilitate additional research by members of tribal communities themselves. Dr. McClurken has served as a visiting curator and curatorial consultant for the Michigan State University Museum, the Andrew Blackbird Museum, the Ziibiwing Cultural Society of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and for the Nokomis Learning Center. He authors and publishes scholarly articles and books on Native American culture and history.

In addition, McClurken holds an Adjunct Assistant Professorship in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University and is a research associate at the Michigan State University Museum. He has lectured at MSU, teaching Native American history and culture and current issues in Native North America. He has also served as faculty advisor to doctoral candidates. In 2004, Dr. McClurken received a distinguished alumnus award from Grand Valley State University, where he also lectures from time to time.