Indigenous Rights and Representation; Contemporary Indigeneity and Settler Colonialism; Anthropology of Media and Cultural Production; Anthropology of Museums; Critical Museology; Collaborative Museology; Ethics and Collaborative Methodologies; NAGPRA and Repatriation; Museum Collections Research; Collaborative Research and Exhibit Making; Digital Cultural Heritage; Anthropology of Oil and Natural Resources; Oral History and Ethnohistory; Documentary Video; Collaborative Filmmaking; Native North America and Caribbean.
I joined the CU Department of Anthropology and the CU Museum of Natural History in August of 2009. As an Associate Professor and a Curator of Cultural Anthropology, I conduct ethnographic fieldwork as well as object collections research, work on exhibits and collaborative projects in the museum, and teach courses in the Museum and Field Studies program and in the Department of Anthropology. I worked as a Lead Researcher in the Curatorial department at the National Museum of the American Indian before earning a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at Cornell University in 2008.
My dissertation, later published as Our Lives: Collaboration, Native Voice, and the Making of the National Museum of the American Indian (2014), documented the process of “community curating” at the NMAI from the museum professional and indigenous communities’ perspectives. My interests further developed as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia’s department of Anthropology from 2008-09. This department is associated with the UBC Museum of Anthropology— a public museum well know for its collaborative methods (in exhibits, repatriation, and online partnerships), student engagement, and experimental forms of display.
My research focuses on collaborative practice and connecting tribes to museum collections through NAGPRA consultations, co-directed research projects and exhibits, digitizing tangible and intangible heritage, the development of online access to collections, and oral history projects. Through my research and professional work I have had the opportunity to work with diverse indigenous peoples, including the Chicago urban Indian community, the Navajo Nation, the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, the Canadian Inuit community of Igloolik, the Australian Aboriginal community in Townsville, the Paiwan tribe on the island of Taiwan, and the Kalinago (or Island Caribs) of Dominica in the West Indies.
We include students – graduate and undergraduate, from anthropology, museum studies, and film studies - at every level of our research and work here in the museum and in the field. This is one of the wonderful benefits of working in a teaching museum.
CU Cultural Anthropology
CU Museum, Anthropology Section
Executive Board Member (2015-16),
CU Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies
Board Member (2014-2017),
American Anthropological Association Council for Museum Anthropology
Center of the American West
Native American & Indigenous Studies
Department of Ethnic Studies
Department of Anthropology,
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Journal of Museum Anthropology
And the Museum Anthropology blog