My name is Thomas Murphy.
My father, Roy Murphy, contributed Irish, English, and Mexican roots, and my mother, Cheryl Harmon, gave our family English, Scandinavian, and Iroquois (Mohawk) roots. I was raised in the LDS Church in southern Idaho. I earned a B.A. in religion and anthropology from the U. of Iowa (1994) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from U. of Washington (1996, 2003). I’ve conducted ethnographic and ethnohistorical research with the U.S. military in Southwest Asia; LDS Maya and Ladino peoples in Guatemala; Nahua offshoots of Mormonism in Mexico; Word of Wisdom Peyotists in Arizona; and First Peoples more generally in Mexico, United States, and Canada. Research topics have included ethics, identity, racism, health, Indigenous knowledge, environment, and decolonization.
I currently lead the Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School at Edmonds CC in Lynnwood, WA. The LEAF School is a community-based partnership with local tribes, First Nations, municipalities, non-profit, and religious communities coordinating field experiences for college students focused on the application of Indigenous knowledge and anthropological methods to sustainability issues in Washington and British Columbia. We have significant, long-term, on-going archaeological, ecological, and oral history projects related to Japanese Gulch in Mukilteo, WA where the Point Elliott treaty was signed and where a Japanese community lived from 1903-1930. We also offer an American Religious Diversity course where students work with local religious communities (also very global where we live) to record oral histories. In addition to those from First Peoples and Japanese American communities, we have collected oral histories from local Seventh Day Adventist, Jewish, Baha’i, and Egyptian Coptic communities.