Michele Marie Desmarais

Photo by Michelle Cavanaugh Rawlings

Michele Marie Desmarais is a poet and scholar of Métis, Dakota and European descent. She was raised and educated in Vancouver B.C., Canada, on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Michele is an Associate Professor in Religious Studies and a teaching faculty member in the Native American Studies program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), where she was also the founding director of Medical Humanities. Her book, Changing Minds: Mind Consciousness and Identity in Patañjali’s Yoga-sūtra and Cognitive Neursocience (Motilal Banarsidass), was selected as one of the foundational texts in the field of science and religion by the International Society for Science and Religion.

Michele’s poetry has been published widely in literary journals, including: American Indian Culture and Research Journal; International Studies in Literature and the Environment; Yellow Medicine Review; Room Magazine; Contemporary Verse2; Descant; and The Malahat Review.  A film of her reciting her poem Sweetgrass is part of the University of Nebraska State Museum’s First Peoples of the Plains exhibit and her poetry is included in the Native American Artists Resource Collection of the Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona). Michele is a grateful past recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts Aboriginal Writer’s grant. She currently performs and records with her band, owlmouth.

Michele has a B.A. in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Asian Studies also from U.B.C. Michele’s areas of specialty include: Medical Humanities; Indigenous Fine Arts and Pedagogies; mindfulness; spirituality and wellness; Sanskritic thought; Mad Studies; Yoga psychology; and religion and film.