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Rouillard, John C. (1928-1983) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Rouillard, John C. (1928-1983)
Variant Name: John Rouillard

Historical 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.

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