PULLMAN, WA -- Dr. Lillian Ackerman is an adjunct professor who received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in anthropology back when she was living in Michigan. She later relocated to Washington, where she earned her PhD and pursued academic research at Washington State University. although she is now retired, nothing can stop her great mind and passion.
Dr. Ackerman had a feminist mindset and thought often about women’s equality. She wanted to learn more about the ethnicities of the Plateau; if gender equality existed in the Native American Indian cultures there, and if women are indeed as smart than men. After numerous years and interviews with people of the nearby Nez Perce Reservation and Colville Indian Reservation, Dr. Ackerman found her answers along with a new sense of respect and admiration for the indigenous peoples.
Dr. Ackerman has published her findings many times, initially in her thesis an also in more than 20 articles and 4 books. Some she wrote and contributed to, such as A Song to the Creator: Traditional Arts of Native American Women of the Plateau, she was the book’s editor. Dr. Ackerman also taught classes on the subject of Plateau peoples, and anthropology.
Dr. Ackerman enjoyed her work and says her husband was exceptionally supportive throughout the years. Richard Edwin Ackerman gave her lots of free time, access to his own libraries, and let her spend their money on research needs. She delved into the complexity of Plateau cultures and found out that yes, gender equality did exist! She also learned that the Native American women were most wise and quite powerful.
“We need to be more aware of other cultures and treat them with respect,” she says. “They are people too, not objects, and they deserve all of our love, honor and recognition.”