Photo: Laura L.  Harjo

Laura L. Harjo

  • Associate Professor



  • Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2012


  • Indigenous Space
  • Place
  • Mapping
  • Indigenous Rights
  • Social Movements

Laura Harjo is a Mvskoke scholar and an associate professor teaching in the concentrations of Indigenous Planning and Community Development at the University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning.  She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in geography, while also tracking through the American Studies and Ethnicity doctoral program. Thus her training and scholarly inquiry are at the intersection of geography and critical ethnic studies with “community” as an analytic focus. Harjo’s research and teaching centers on three areas: imbuing complexity to Indigenous space, and place; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives and anti-violence; and community-based knowledge production. She is the author of Spiral to the Stars: Mvskoke Tools of Futurity (University of Arizona Press, 2019), which employs Mvskoke epistemologies, and Indigenous feminisms to grapple with a community praxis of futurity.

Prior to joining UNM, she was a research fellow with the Advancement Project in Washington, DC. There she worked in an attorney/researcher partnership with civil rights expert Donita Judge, Esq. and researched and spatially analyzed civil rights issues in Florida, Texas, and New Orleans related to voter protection, inclusive community development, and the prison industrial complex-school to prison pipeline. Harjo was previously appointed Muscogee (Creek) Nation's Ambassador to the United Nations, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.

CRP 474/574, Cultural Aspects of Community Development

CRP 431/531, Foundations of Community Development

CRP 470/570, Intermediate GIS,

CRP 470/570, Community Participatory Methods

CRP 470/570, Indigenous Town Planning, (Nambe Pueblo, NM, Quilloac, Cañar, Ecuador)

CRP 470/570, Indigenous Space, Place, and Mapping

CRP 570,        Indigenous Feminist Planning Praxis

CRP 470/570, #MMIW: A Transnational Context

CRP 570,        Spatial Storytelling and Spatial Analysis

CRP 485/583, Introduction to GIS


Harjo, Laura, (2019) Spiral to the Stars: Mvskoke Tools of Futurity, Tucson: University of Arizona Press




Harjo, Laura L., Robertson, Kimberly, and Navarro, Jenell, (2018) “Leading with Our Hearts: Anti-Violence Work, Community Action, and Beading as Colonial Resistance” in Campbell, Maria, Anderson, Kim, and Belcourt, Christi (eds.) Keetsahnak, Our Sisters.


Forbes-Isais, G., &  Harjo, Laura L., (2015) “Social Equity and Ethics for Sustainable Architecture” (eds.) Kanaani, M,and Kopec, D. The Routledge Handbook for Architecture Design & Practice: Established and Emerging Trends, New York: Routledge


Harjo, Laura L., (2015) Review of “Who Is Indian” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 38:4



Harjo, Laura L., (2008) Review of “Place and Native American Indian History and Culture.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 32:4.


Harjo, Laura L., (2006) “GIS support for empowering the marginalized community: the Cherokee Nation case study.” in Campagna, M. (ed.) GIS for Sustainable Development, New York: Taylor and Francis, 433-449.



Professional Publications

Chaco Canyon Cultural Assets Report, Indigenous Design and Planning Institute, 2015


Taos Pueblo Comprehensive Indigenous Community & Land Use Plan, Indigenous Design and Planning Institute, 2014


The Rio Arriba Indo-Hispano Homeland: A Living Cultural Corridors Plan, Indo-Hispano Summer Field School, 2013.


Nambe Pueblo, Community Report, Indigenous Town Planning Studio, 2014

Research Projects and Engagement

Spatial Storytelling Mvskoke Tribal Towns and Communities

Designing/Creating the City for Indigenous Women

Culturally Mapping Albuquerque Research Group

Mvskoke Narratives: Covering the Earth With Our Stories, co-editor with Sarah Deer and Rosemary McCombs Maxey,

Contracts and Grants

2015-2016. Co-Organizer, American Studies research cluster on “Critical Indigenous Studies and Extractive Capitalism, UNM, College of Arts and Sciences ($2,500)


2015. Co-Principal Investigator, Study Abroad Allocations Committee, Indigenous Town Planning Ecuador, August 23, 2014, ($11,500)


2013-2015. Co-Principal Investigator, Taos Pueblo Comprehensive Indigenous Community & Land Use Plan, Taos Pueblo, NM ($44,973)


2013. Principal Investigator, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, “Graduate Intern, Navajo Land Tenure Research”, June 2013, ($30,000)


2004. Principal Investigator, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Special Trustee, Geographic Coordinate Database, Pilot Project, September 2004, ($200,000)


2000. Principal Investigator, Arkansas Riverbed Authority, Mapping and Analysis of Tribal Land Holdings: The historic river and present day river. ($12,000)


2001. Choctaw Nation, Mapping Tribal Land: Training in using GIS coordinate geometry (COGO), and proprietary Cherokee Nation Land Information System.  ($10,000)

  • Lynn Reyer Award in Tribal Community Development, Society for the Preservation of American Indian Culture.
  • 2018. American Collegiate Schools of Planning, People of Color Interest Group, NCFDD Scholar
  • 2017. American Collegiate Schools of Planning, Junior Faculty of Color Workshop, Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts
  • 2016 American Collegiate Schools of Planning, JPER Writing Workshop, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ.