Noted scholar. Gifted writer. Granted researcher ... and proud Chickasaw.

Dr. Elizabeth Rule, an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is more than qualified as Assistant Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. "Being Chickasaw has been a central aspect of my life for my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I had a strong Chickasaw identity."

Rule adds, "In college I started taking classes in American Studies, and it illuminated so much about our society and our history as a country—learning things about tribal sovereignty or how tribal nations interact with the federal government, how we have this long history of federal policy and law surrounding indigenous affairs. That spoke to me, so I decided to go into academia and share it with others."

Rule's research on her Native American community has been featured in the Washington Post, Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien, The Atlantic and NPR. And as a published author, Elizabeth has several scholarly articles in such prestigious publications as American Quarterly and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. "My goal is that we're going to learn something about the indigenous peoples of the United States and hopefully through that education, a better understanding. We'll be able to have stronger relationships between our indigenous and non-indigenous population."

Beyond the classroom, Rule continues her work as an educator by presenting her research and delivering talks on Native American issues. More than 100 public speaking engagements and interviews have taken her across three continents and to seven countries. "I was recently selected to be a Social Impact fellow and resident at the Kennedy Center. During this time, I'm going to expand my work into the arts and focus on screenwriting."

Rule also created the :Guide to Indigenous D.C.," a mobile application and digital map of indigenous sites of importance in the nation's capital. But her personal guide has always been her Chickasaw heritage. "Looking back at prior generations, they were not necessarily proud or able to say they were Chickasaw. I'm proud to say that today. We are Chickasaw. And that identity provides a source of strength and motivation to do good things in the world, and to be involved in our community."