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Michael McNally ’85

John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies, Religion

Education & Professional History

Carleton College, BA; Harvard Divinity School, MDiv; Harvard University, AM, PhD

Michael D. McNally (Carleton, B.A.; Harvard, M.Div., M.A., Ph.D.), 2001-, teaches on American religion and culture and Native American traditions. Special interests include Native American traditions and the law, tradition and history of Minnesota’s Anishinaabe/Ojibwe people, and Indigenized Christianities. He is author of three books: Defend the Sacred: Native American Religious Freedom beyond the 1st Amendment (Princeton, 2020); Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion (2009), and Ojibwe Singers: Hymns, Grief, and a Native Culture in Motion (2000), as well as book chapters, law review, and academic journal articles.  At Carleton he is Assoc. Dir. of American Studies and Co-Director of Carleton’s 3-yr Mellon-funded Indigenous Engagement in Place Initiative. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 for his work on Native religions and law.

At Carleton since 2001.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Guggenheim Fellowship (2017-18)

Defend the Sacred: Native American Religious Freedom beyond the 1st Amendment (Princeton U.Press, 2020)

Honoring Elders: Aging, Authority, and Ojibwe Religion (Columbia U. Press, 2009)

Ojibwe Singers: Hymns, Grief & a Native Culture in Motion (Oxford, 2000; repr. MN Hist. Soc. Press, 2009) Co-Director of ongoing public scholarship project on religious diversity in MN.

Sacred Minnesota: Project Advisor to 4-part documentary short partnership with Twin Cities Public Television (Spring, 2021)


Current Courses

  • Fall 2023
    IDSC 285: Ethics of Civic Engagement
    RELG 239: Religion & American Landscape
    RELG 289: Global Religions in Minnesota
  • Winter 2024
    RELG 110: Understanding Religion
    RELG 140: Religion and American Culture
  • Fall 2024
    AMST 398: Advanced Research in American Studies
    RELG 130: Native American Religions
  • Winter 2025
    AMST 263: Ethics of Indigenous Engagement
    AMST 399: Senior Seminar in American Studies
  • Spring 2025
    RELG 344: Lived Religion in America
Photo of Michael McNally


Curriculum Vitae