Featured Psychologist: Arthur McDonald, PhD

Arthur McDonald, PhDIn 1966, Arthur McDonald, PhD, became the first American Indian man to earn a doctorate in psychology. After he received his doctorate from the University of South Dakota, he immediately went on to begin teaching at Montana State University in Bozeman. In his formative teaching years, he became increasingly aware of the needs facing American Indians in academic institutions and within the community. In an effort to address the needs, which he observed to be a lack of American Indian inclusion in psychology, he left Montana State University to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation where he served as director of education. Later, he went on to found the Dull Knife Memorial College.

At Dull Knife Memorial College, Dr. McDonald recruited 17 Indian psychology graduate students who taught classes and counseled students. However, this was not enough for McDonald, who felt that there was not enough funding for the recruitment of American Indians at the undergraduate level into the field of psychology. As a trailblazer, McDonald took the funding agenda to congress and through that effort he established the INPSYCH program.

Arthur McDonald’s passion and dedication to the inclusion of American Indians in psychology has been unfailing. In 2000, he was awarded the Presidential Citation from the APA for not only his lifetime of work in psychology, but for the underserved people throughout the nation, and to the American Indians and Alaskan Natives. As president of the Morning Star Memorial Foundation, McDonald’s path is still blazing, providing support to Indian people in such areas as youth, education, elder care, mental health and preservation of the language.


Westberg, J. (n.d.) Arthur McDonald: Enhancing care of the underserved. Retrieved from http://aianhealthcareers.org/page6/page96/page70/page70.html