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Washington State University
History | Orlan Svingen

Orlan Svingen

Professor of History

Wilson-Short Hall 321
Office: 509-335-5205
Cell: 509-432-4541


Ph.D., University of Toledo, 1982

Academic & Professional Interests

Svingen teaches Public History and American Indian history, with research, and publication interests in American Indian history.

Two of his cross-listed classes, History of North American Indians, (History 308/Comparative Ethnic Studies 375) and American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law, (History 410/Political Science 410/Anthropology 410), are now offered online in Washington State University’s Global Campus.


Svingen’s refereed publications include The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, 1877-1900 (University Press of Colorado, 1994), The History of the Idaho NationalĀ Guard (Idaho Military Division, 1995), and Splendid Service, A History of the Montana National Guard, 1867-2006 (Washington State University Press, 2010 – Video). He has published scholarly articles in the Western Historical Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, American Indian Quarterly, and Montana, The Magazine of Western History.

Contracted Reports

Covering topics such as traditional land use, treaty rights, water rights, hunting and fishing rights, and repatriation, he has authored, edited, and collaborated on contracted reports for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho, The Fort Lemhi Indian Community, the Crow Tribe of Montana, the Navajo Nation, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Native American Rights Fund (Pawnee repatriation), the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians.

Currently, Svingen works with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, just north of Pocatello, Idaho. His area of expertise involves the Mixed-Band of Shoshone, Bannock, and Sheepeater Indians (Sacajawea’s people) whose aboriginal lands included the Lemhi Valley of central Idaho and the Three Forks drainage of southwestern Montana.

He is also working on a historical documentary with Naka Productions, an independent film production company located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The “In Good Faith Project” focuses on unresolved historical questions involving the Mixed Band of Shoshone, Bannock, and Sheepeater Indians of central Idaho and southwestern Montana.