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John C. Rouillard Papers

Identifier: MS-0354

Scope and Contents

The John C. Rouillard Papers document Rouillard’s tenure with the American Indian Studies department, as well as his participation in and involvement with numerous Native American organizations, councils, and committees. The collection includes correspondence, lectures, notes, memorandums, reports, studies, conference material, and proposals.  The majority of the material focuses on Rouillard’s membership in various organizations regarding Native American education. The collection is divided into three series: General Files, Study Files, and Organizational Files.

The General Files (1971-1983) document Rouillard’s academic interests and activities while serving as chair of the American Indian Studies department. Of particular interest are the lectures in Rouillard’s "personal file" that include information about the creation of the department, as well as Rouillad’s philosophies and techniques pertaining to Native American education.  Arranged alphabetically, this series also includes correspondence, conference materials, memorandums, notes, manuscripts, and reports.

The Study Files (1976-1981) document Rouillard’s participation in several studies related to his work and the development of Native American education. These studies include correspondence, court briefs, minutes, agendas, hearings, reports, memorandums, and position papers. This series is arranged alphabetically by study title. Of particular interest are the disease and health care statistics for Native Americans in the feasibility study for a Native American medical school.

The Organizational Files (1972-1982) document Rouillard’s membership and activities with various Native American-related organizations, commissions, councils, and boards during the 1970s. The series includes meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, and memorandums. The series is divided into eight sub-series:  California Indian Education Association Files (1972-1978), the California Postsecondary Education Commission Files (1975-1979), the Coalition of Indian-Controlled Schools Board Files (1976-1977), the Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing Files (1971-1973), the Indian Policy Review Commission Files (1976), the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Files (1979-1982), the National Indian Education Association Files (1979-1981), and the San Diego City Schools Community Advisory Committee Files (1978). Of note are the Community Advisory Committee files, which include cultural elementary school lesson plans dating from the late 1970s.  Committee members were tasked with editing, commenting, and making recommendations for these plans.


  • Creation: 1971-1983


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

John C. Rouillard was born on December 31, 1928 in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was a Santee Dakota Sioux and attended the Government Indian School on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He later attended Washington and Lee High School. After graduating, Rouillard joined the US Army of Occupation in Japan as an infantryman and bandsmen. In 1948, he left the service to begin college. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1952 with a bachelor’s in music education. Rouillard then taught music at the high school level. Six years later he received a master’s in music, also from Northwestern. In 1969, Rouillard moved to San Diego and began working as a music instructor at Helix High School. In 1971, he was asked to help with Native American education at San Diego State. He initially worked for the Equal Opportunity Program for Native Americans. In this position, he helped to increase the attendance and retention of Native American students at San Diego State by helping students obtain financial aid and tutoring assistance. A year later, Rouillard began his twelve-year tenure as the first Chair of the American Indian Studies department. He also started lecturing at Grossmont College. As chair, Rouillard developed courses in Native American music, education, language, and history. He also applied for, received, and managed numerous grants, including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for the All-Yuman Applied Workshop in Language and Culture; as well as a California Council for the Humanities grant in Public Policy, Treaty Rights, and Sovereignty Forum.

In addition to his work at San Diego State, Rouillard was active in numerous professional organizations, and served on various commissions, committees, and boards. He worked as a consultant to the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and was active in the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the National Congress of American Indians, the National Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies Association, and the California Indian Education Association (CIEA). President Jimmy Carter also appointed Rouillard to a three-year term on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) in 1979.

Rouillard passed away in 1983.


8.76 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I.  General Files, 1971-1983

II.  Study Files, 1976-1981

III. Organizational Files, 1972-1982

    1.  California Indian Education Association (CIEA) Files, 1972-1978

    2.  California Postsecondary Education Commission Files, 1975-1979

    3.  Coalition of Indian-Controlled Schools Board Files, 1976-1977

    4.  Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing Files, 1971-1973

    5.  Indian Policy Review Commission Files, 1976

    6.  National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) Files, 1979-1982

    7.  National Indian Education Association (NIEA) Files, 1978-1981

    8.  San Diego City Schools Community Advisory Committee Files, 1978

Source of Acquisition

American Indian Studies Department and Mrs. John C. Rouillard

Accruals and Additions


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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US