Lori Laiwa Thomas (Member)

Lori Laiwa Thomas
Native American Studies Professor
Race Building

Professor Lori Laiwa Thomas is an enrolled member of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, raised on the Point Arena side of the Manchester Rancheria, and a true believer of the Kashaya spiritual life-ways learned in Stewarts Point. Her indigenous heritage stretches between the Aleutian Islands and Lima, Peru and her indigenous ancestry includes the following: Shoqowa 'east of the river'; Pdahau 'west water people', Danaka 'mountain by the sea', balokai 'place where wild barley grows', (Potter Valley); Danokeya or Late 'Yorkville'. She is also Coast Miwok of Tomales and Huchnom of Potter Valley. 

She has been married to her husband Delbert for eight years and they love to travel, go camping, harvesting traditional foods and medicines, and preparing traditional foods for cultural events, rituals, and dances within their community. Their blended family includes ten children, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and one great-great grandson! They are both die-hard fans of the SF Giants and Forty-Niners!  

Professor Thomas received her AS degrees in Accounting and Business Management from Mendocino College in 2004, BS degree in Native American Studies (North America emphasis) from University of California, Davis in 2007, and is currently ABD in the PHD program in Native American Studies at University of California, Davis. She expects to file her dissertation in 2022-2023. 

Professor Thomas worked as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) at UC Davis in Native American Studies and Asian American Studies, and has also worked in the departments of history, political science, and ethnic studies at Mendocino College. She has also taught at California State University, Sacramento in the Ethnic Studies Department. Professor Thomas joins SRJC Fall 2022 as Instructor of Native American Studies in the Ethnic Studies Department.