Matthew S. Makley

Degree: Ph.D.

Professor and Chair

Department: History

Matthew S. Makley


History Native American Issues


  • Modern U.S. history
  • U.S. history
  • U.S. West
  • Indigenous history
  • Native American history


Matthew S. Makley, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of History at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include Indigenous North America, water history, particularly Colorado water, and the American West.

Makley has been teaching at MSU Denver for over 15 years. He also taught courses at Arizona State University while earning his doctorate. He received the 2016 Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award for Tenured Faculty. 

Makley wrote a book titled “The Small Shall be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Indians” that was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2018.  The Association of College and Research Libraries named that book “An Outstanding Academic Title” in 2020.  He also co-authored the book, “Cave Rock: Climbers, Courts and a Washoe Indian Sacred Site,” which was published by the University of Nevada Press in 2010. He also helped produce a short documentary about an Iris farm and its relationship with water in Boulder, Colorado called “Long’s Gardens: An Urban Oasis.”

Makley received his doctorate in history specializing in Native American history, and the history of the American West from Arizona State University in 2007.

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