Courtesy of Cornell University

Prof. Carol Warrior passed away in Montana in July, surrounded by family and friends.

August 26, 2018

English Professor and ‘Fighter for Indigenous Rights’ Carol Warrior Dies at 56

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Prof. Carol Edelman Warrior, English, died on July 4 at the age of 56, surrounded by her family and Sundance community in Montana.

Prof. Lisa Kahaleole Hall, women and gender studies, Wells College, who is currently a visiting professor at Cornell, described Warrior as a “cherished teacher, student mentor, and valued colleague” who “gave generously of her time, insights and compassion to all” in an email to all English department students.

“Carol carried the name Warrior in every aspect of her life,” her obituary reads. She was an “indigenous literature scholar, fighter for indigenous rights, and lover of family, community and students.”

Born on March 19, 1962, Warrior was enrolled with the Ninilchik Village Tribe and was of Alutiiq (Sugpiaq), Dena’ina Athabascan and A’aniiih (Gros Ventre) descent. 

At Cornell, her research focused on Native American, First Nations and Alaska Native literatures, indigenous philosophies, worldviews and critical theory, Native American women’s literature, indigenous futurisms and indigenous land-based practices. She also served as the residential faculty advisor for Awe:kon.

Skye Hart ’18 grad took Warrior’s ENGL 3560 Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies course, and later worked with Warrior for her senior honors thesis.

“She was like a mom away from home,” Hart said, naming Warrior as one of the reasons she returned to Cornell for her master’s degree.

Hart recalled a chance encounter in Seattle, where Warrior gave her a ride and made sure she had a safe place to stay, as well as Warrior taking time out of class to discuss students’ feelings after the 2016 presidential election.

“She was always looking out for us,” Hart said. “She noticed things going on in our lives outside the classroom, and making sure people were getting the help they needed. She supported us academically and personally, and helped us connect with our cultures.”

Warrior earned her B.A. in English and American Indian studies in 2008 from the University of Washington. She completed an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English language and literature in 2010 and 2015, respectively, both also from the University of Washington.

She served as an English and American Indian Studies instructor at the University of Washington before coming to Cornell in 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2017, she became an assistant professor in the department of English and an Affiliate Faculty in American Studies and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.

Prof. Masha Raskolnikov, English, described Warrior as “a promising scholar who was making a difference for students and everyone here.”

“She was just so dynamic and so challenging at the same time, and she was so kind,” Raskolnikov said. “That combination of being smart, rigorous and good at what she did, and also really generous and open and willing to be a real person — she’s going to be impossible to replace.”

Warrior enjoyed crafting, glassblowing, hiking and playing Dungeons and Dragons, according to a University press release.

She is survived by her husband, Shaawano Chad Uran, a visiting postdoctoral associate in the department of anthropology at Cornell, and her children Bryce (Christy) Stevenson, Lacey Stevenson Warrior, Brett Stevenson Warrior, Sage (Mika) Warrior, Cleo Keahna, Della Keahna Uran, Ike Keahna Uran and Smokii Sumac.

A GoFundMe fundraiser to help her family pay for funeral costs has raised over $22,000 of its $20,000 goal as of Sunday evening.

A memorial event held by the department of English and American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program will take place on Thursday, August 30 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. in the Africana Center Multi-Purpose Room.