Kelsey Dayle John

Assistant Professor

Kelsey Dayle John (Diné) is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in American Indian Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Her work is centered on animal relationalities, particularly horse/human relationships as ways of knowing, healing, and decolonizing education. Alongside her work in Indigenous animal studies, Kelsey’s research interests also include: Indigenous feminisms, decolonizing methodologies, and Tribal College and Universities. She finds her theoretical locations within transnational feminism, Indigenous studies, settler colonial studies, Diné Studies, and foundations of education. Dr. John encourages students with interest in the following areas to contact her about the doctoral program: Indigenous feminisms, critical animal studies, American Indian Studies, and Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies.

Previously, Kelsey taught in the Diné Studies department at Navajo Technical University on Navajo Nation. For her dissertation research, she worked in partnership with her community to think about how horse knowledges and relationalities can help improve Navajo tribal university research and outreach. As a Ph.D. student, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. In her community, Kelsey organizes an annual Horse Conference to promote dialogue about the sacredness of horses and to connect tribal universities with the community.

In her spare time, she runs with her dogs and works with her horse Bambi. She is a Navajo language learner and horse trainer often helping with her family’s ranch in Colorado. 


  • Ph.D., M.S. Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University
  • C.A.S. Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University 
  • B.A. Educational Studies, Colgate University