The first Native American Indian to leave a California reservation to attend college, Dr. Marigold Linton is a cognitive psychologist and advocate for the education of Native Americans.
Linton is Cahuilla-Cupeno of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and was born and raised on the Morongo Reservation in Southern California. School came easily for her and with the encouragement of her eighth grade teacher she began to think of college as a possibility for her own life. Accepted into the University of California at Riverside, Linton excelled at the school. She graduated with a degree in experimental psychology in 1958, having already published two papers, and earned a doctorate from UCLA in 1964.
Her work focuses on cognitive psychology which is concerned with how people think, learn, perceive, and remember with a further specialty in long-term memory. Major questions in her research include how long learned information is retained and if it is retained longer if you study more.
Wanting to combine research with teaching, she was hired at San Diego State University and then the University of Utah where she was the first woman to be hired as a full professor. With strong ties to her people and with a keen understanding of the difficulties faced when leaving the reservation to attend college, she became involved in the national Indian education movement of the 60’s and 70’s and served on the founding board of the National Indian Education Association. Wanting to work more closely with tribes she moved to Arizona State University as the Director of American Indian Programs running a coalition, the Rural Systemic Initiative, mandated to improve mathematics and science education for twenty tribes in Arizona.
Moving to the University of Kansas as the director of American Indian Outreach, she has developed a consortium between the school and the Haskell Indian Nations University. This partnership supports biomedical research opportunities for American Indian Students and faculty and Linton has obtained more that $13 million in support from the National Institutes of Health enabling many American Indians to earn advanced degrees in the sciences.
Written by Angela Goad