College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Mary Hermes

  • Pronouns: she, they

  • Professor

Mary Hermes

Areas of interest

Community engagement, cultural studies, curriculum development, diversity and equity, Indigenous language revitalization, social justice


BA Oberlin College Third World Studies
BM Oberlin Conservatory Bassoon Performance
MA University of Wisconsin, Madison Curriculum and Instruction
PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison, Curriculum and Instruction


Mary Hermes' research focuses on language revitalization and how it can connect people to the land and the planet. She explores different ways of knowing and being through feminist and indigenous lenses. Specifically, Hermes' research focuses on Ojibwe language learners and immersion teachers in K-12 classrooms. She works with schools and teachers to revitalize language that supports a sustainable, Indigenous culture, creating teaching materials based on language documentation through everyday conversations with elders.

What students can expect from me?

My teaching approach is influenced by feminist and queer theories. I try to build relationships in the classroom and am very student-centered. I try to break boundaries, be inclusive, and build trust. We will think through ideas together and learn collectively.

Their recent interests in indigenous language reclamation and land have led them to use multimodal interactional analysis, on land.

Currently, they are rolling out a 5-year research project focused on a learning science situation analysis of "Forest Walks," an NSF-funded documentation project NSF (NSF/DEL BCS-1664510) that featured youth and elders walking on Ojibwe lands using Ojibwemowin. Wearing point-of-view cameras, this project was a unique opportunity to study the constellation of communication in this setting. The research coincides with Bang, Marin (2015) et. al. that is making an argument for the implications of a relational epistemology on learning and development.


  • Community Engaged Scholar Award, University of Minnesota (2020)
  • Grand Challenge Collaborative Research Scholar Appointment (2018-2019)
  • CEHD Community Engagement Award (Spring 2016)
  • Multicultural Leadership Award (Spring 2014)
  • Institute for Advanced Studies Fellow (Spring 2010)
  • President’s Multicultural Research Award (2000–2002)

Associations and Memberships

Sponsored Projects

Understanding Learning Mechanisms and Language Acquisition through Intergenerational Conversations in Southwestern Ojibwe, a Native American language, Sep 2017. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

News Stories

MPR News - “Preserving Minnesota’s native languages” Oct 15, 2014

Mother Nature Network - “New home movies resurrect endangered Native American language” Nov 21, 2011


Hermes, M. & Engman, M. (2017). Resounding the clarion call: Indigenous language learners and documentation. In Wesley Y. Leonard & Haley De Korne (Eds.), Language Documentation and Conservation, 14 (1), 59-87. (with graduate student).

Hermes, M. (2016). A response to a pedagogy of pain. The Modern Language Journal, 100(2), 573-575.

Hermes, M. & King K. (2013).  Ojibwe language revitalization, multimedia technology and family language learning.  Language, Learning, Technology.

Hermes, M. , Bang, M. & Marin, A (2012).  Designing Indigenous language revitalization pedagogy.  Harvard Educational Review.

Hermes, M. (2011). Collaboration despite colonialism: Language revitalization in the United States. Language and Literacy Compass.

Dance, J., Gutierrez, R. and Hermes, M. (2010). More like jazz than classical: Reciprocal interactions among educational researchers and respondents. Harvard Educational Review (co-authors, equal distribution of credit)

Hermes, M. (2007).  Moving towards the language:  Reflections on language as culture in Native American education. Journal of American Indian Education.