Theodore Stern Becomes Leading Scholar on Klamath Indians

Jul 23, 2014

 Ten years ago the Umatilla Indian Tribe of Eastern Oregon declared July 29 “Dr. Theodore Stern Day” in honor of the leading scholar on the linguistics and anthropology of the Klamath and Nez Perce people.  

Author of the book titled The Klamath Tribe: A People and Their Reservation, Stern spent 39 years at the University of Oregon’s Department of Anthropology. He also served on the Oregon governor’s Indian Affairs Committee.  Stern spent many summers at the Umatilla, Nez Perce and Klamath Reservations studying their languages, myths and genealogies. The Oregon Collection at the University of Oregon library has preserved his notes.  In 1996, Stern published the book titled Chiefs and Change in Oregon Country, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.  Among his many other books are The Klamath Indians and The Handbook of North American Indians. Somehow, Stern also found time to study tribes in Burma, East Pakistan and Thailand. The historian George Pierre Castille observed that Stern writes “… with the magisterial scholarly authority of a lifetime devoted to the understanding of the peoples of the Northwest.” A fellowship for graduate students at the U of O Anthropology Department carries Stern’s name.

  Source: Lewis, David. "Theodore Stern (1917-2005)." The Oregon Encyclopedia.. Portland State University; Oregon Historical Society, 2014. Web. 10 June 2014.