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Oklahoma State University

The official magazine of Oklahoma State University

The Cowboy Way Winter 2016

Lindsey Claire Smith

Lindsey Claire Smith is the editor of American Indian Quarterly and an associate professor of English at Oklahoma State University.


At OSU, Smith combines her love for English and Native American studies in her work by teaching her favorite class. It’s cross-listed between the two subjects, called “Native American Studies and the Arts.”


“The course connects students with writers and artists who are presenting their work locally,” Smith says. “We often have class in museums or at literary readings. It’s a wonderful way to engage students in the world beyond the classroom as well as provide opportunities for those in the Native American arts scene to engage with higher education and the public.”




The white scarf is part of Smith’s uniform for Voices of Unity, a community choir with whom she performs. The group of singers is from Tulsa and surrounding areas. Voices of Unity sings a large variety of music, ranging from African-American spirituals to love songs from the 1950s.


“I like to think that we are ambassadors of sorts for creating community across racial divides,” she says. “We have sung for public officials and visitors to Tulsa, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, and as backup for Barry Manilow. We have also sung at weddings, retirement homes and city observances of Martin Luther King Day.”


Voices of Unity is currently prepping to perform at the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation and a winter concert.




In her spare time, Smith enjoys making furniture. One of the tools she uses is a Kreg jig for woodworking.


“I’ve built an eight-foot farmhouse dining table with benches, a farmhouse guest bed, an upholstered bench, a flip-top coffee table, and bookshelf and toy storage for my daughter’s bedroom,” Smith says.




Originally from Tulsa, Smith is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. She earned a doctoral degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


After working out of state for several years, she returned to her native roots in Oklahoma 10 years ago to begin her career at OSU. The College of Arts and Sciences has honored her with a Junior Faculty Award in 2012 and Community Engagement Award in 2015.


“I have come to appreciate the land grant mission of OSU and its commitment to education across Oklahoma and beyond,” she says. “It has been wonderful to reconnect with family and friends here.”




As editor of the American Indian Quarterlythe leading academic journal in interdisciplinary American Indian studies, Smith reads and directs the peer review process for all manuscripts and solicits submissions for each volume’s cover art.


“We are committed to publishing the most thought-provoking scholarship in the field and to highlighting the sovereignty of American Indian nations,” she says.


“I was interested in assuming the editorship because the journal has an excellent reputation, and I knew I would learn a lot from reading the latest research in American Indian studies. I’m especially drawn to interdisciplinary work and enjoy hearing about topics in the field from a variety of vantage points.”




An avid cyclist, Smith is a member of the Tulsa Bicycle Club and the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition. She has served as a board member for OK Freewheel and has biked across Oklahoma seven times with the organization.


“I participate in several one-day rides in various parts of the state,” Smith says. “My favorites are Dam Jam in Pryor and Flower Power in Muskogee.”



More stories like this are available for members of the OSU Alumni Association. STATE magazine is a benefit of membership in the OSU Alumni Association. To join or update your membership go to or call 405-744-5368.



Interview by Faith Kelley 


Published by STATE Magazine Editor Elizabeth Keys, Winter 2016, Volume 12, Number 2

Uploaded on December 1, 2016