Sarah Deer

Dr. Sarah Deer
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • School of Public Affairs & Administration

Contact Info

University of Kansas
Wescoe Hall, Room 4060


Sarah Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and a professor at the University of Kansas. Her 2015 book, The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America is the culmination of over 25 years of working with survivors and has received several awards, including the Best First Book award from the Native American Indigenous Studies Association. A lawyer by training but an advocate in practice, Deer’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework. Deer is a co-author of four textbooks on tribal law and has been published in a wide variety of law journals, including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, and the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. Her work to end violence against Native women has received national awards from the American Bar Association and the Department of Justice. She has testified before Congress on four occasions regarding violence against Native women and was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to chair a federal advisory committee on sexual violence in Indian country. Professor Deer was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2014. In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She currently teaches at the University of Kansas (her alma mater), where she holds a joint appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Professor Deer is also the Chief Justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals.


B.A. in Women's Studies, Philosophy, with Honors, University of Kansas, 1995
J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 1999


Deer’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework for analysis.

Research interests:

  • Indigenous legal studies
  • Tribal court jurisdiction
  • Tribal court process and procedure
  • Tribal appellate courts
  • Violence against Native American women
  • Federal law reform
  • Victims' rights
  • Feminist jurisprudence
  • Indigenous feminist legal theory
  • Mvskoke language

Awards & Honors

2019 Prem S. Paul Award for Research in Anti-Human Trafficking
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Human Trafficking and Migration Initiative
National Women's Hall of Fame
National Women's Hall of Fame
Spirit of Excellence Award
American Bar Association
MacArthur Fellowship
Allied Professional Award
United States Department of Justice