Red Shirt-Shaw


Faculty/Staff Development
Native Americans
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Summer Institute Instructors
Youth/Student Activism
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (Oglala Lakota) is an inspiring educator, writer, and researcher in Higher Education. Passionate about Indigenous rights issues, college admissions, and greater Native presence in media​ and higher education​, Megan believes in empowering young people to use their voices for the issues they care about in their communities. A powerful speaker, she has presented at colleges and universities as well as conferences nationwide.

Megan is currently the Director of Native Student Services at the University of South Dakota. She has held positions in undergraduate admissions, college counseling, and student advising at the University of Pennsylvania, Questbridge, Santa Clara University, Albuquerque Academy, and the 7th Gen Summer Program.

Megan's writings have been featured on Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, Racialicious, Model View Culture, and Last Real Indians. She is the founder of Natives In America​, an online literary publication for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian youth.
She earned her Bachelor’s from the University of Pennsylvania in English and her Master's from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Higher Education where she was co-chair of FIERCE — Future Indigenous Educators Resisting Colonial Education. Megan is currently pursuing her PhD in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a focus on Higher Education and a minor in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Her favorite phrase her mother ever taught her in Lakota is “Weksuye, Ciksuye, Miksuye” meaning “I remember, I remember you, Remember me.”


“Red Shirt-Shaw spoke passionately on a myriad of topics related to indigenous people and identity…At the heart of (her) message was not just that the Native people of this country continue to struggle, but that we must all work together by having uncomfortable conversations and speaking up about our own individual experiences in order to enact positive change.”
— Jenny Gumbert, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster PA


We Are Still Here: On Native Identity and Activism
This presentation discusses the contemporary, and often forgotten, presence of Native people in social justice conversations through a personal lens. The conversation is not expected to define what it means to be Indigenous in America, but is an opportunity to share one perspective, as an urban Lakota woman, about the importance of hearing our voices and our stories.

Beyond the Land Acknowledgement: Higher Education and The Occupation of Native Nations
Land acknowledgements have become a powerful introduction to convocations, graduations, meetings, and conferences in higher education. But institutions must challenge themselves to move away from encouraging acts that are performative, into commitments of transformative change. In this presentation, Megan discusses her research into how institutions of higher education received their land and the steps institutions can take for land-based reparations including returning institutional land back to Native nations or this is not possible, providing free higher education to Native students on their traditional homelands.

Natives In America: On Writing and Authentic Voices
This presentation discusses the creation of an online platform for Native youth to express their contemporary stories through prose, poetry, and hip hop. In order to reclaim our spaces, we must reclaim the stories and narratives that the country have written for us. What better way to do this than to allow the next generation to tell us their stories?

Advice For First Year College Students
This presentation examines the transition into freshman year, and the challenges students, especially those who identify with underrepresented communities, may face during their process and experience.

Perspectives on the College Process
This presentation discusses the college application and admissions process, drawing on Megan’s work in undergraduate admissions at two institutions, at an admissions focused non-profit for high achieving low income students, and as a college counselor on the high school side.