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The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Museum Research and Scholarship Group aims to advance understanding of Native knowledge, history, culture, art, and self-determination in collaboration with Native communities and scholars through research, scholarship, and repatriation.

The NMAI seeks to be a center for the conduct and presentation of original scholarship by staff members, scholars from other institutions, and Native community scholars. To achieve this end, the museum’s curators, researchers, and scholars engage in dialogues with and solicit the contributions of both respected Native community cultural authorities and academic specialists. Focal points for the museum’s research and scholarship program include: giving greater breadth and perspective to themes that guide the museum’s exhibitions, publications, and public programs; increasing and making widely available knowledge about the museum’s collections; providing electronic access to collections for researchers, teachers, and the public via networked technologies and other online tools; and addressing important historical and contemporary issues affecting Native Americans.

David W. Penney
Associate Director for Museum Scholarship, Exhibitions, and Public Engagement
Education: PhD, Art History, Columbia University in the City of New York; BA, Art History, New York University
Research interests: American Indian art history; exhibition development

Collections Research

Ann McMullen
Head of Collections Research and Documentation
Education: PhD and MA, Anthropology, Brown University; BA, Anthropology, Dartmouth College
Research interests: Native American ethnology, history, and material culture; ethnohistory; indigenous historiography; history of museums; history of ethnographic research and collecting; Museum of the American Indian and NMAI history and collections development; 20th-century Native American art/craft; invention of tradition/cultural revitalization; ethnicity, identity, and material culture

L. Antonio Curet
Education: PhD, Anthropology (Archaeology), Arizona State University; MS and BS, magna cum laude, Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Research interests: Caribbean and Mesoamerican archaeology; social and cultural change in ancient times; household archaeology; paleodemography; ceramic analysis; history of museums

Maria Galban
Museum Specialist
Education: MA, Anthropology with Museum Training, George Washington University; BA, Anthropology, Penn State University
Research interests: museum anthropology; Museum of the American Indian history; 20th-century collectors of Native American art, archaeology, and ethnology

Cécile R. Ganteaume
Associate Curator
Education: MA, Anthropology, and BA, Art History, New York University
Research interests: North American Indian history, culture, and art; globalization and material culture; the non-Native production and circulation of American Indian visual imagery; Museum of the American Indian and NMAI collections history

Rachel E. Goddard Griffin
Museum Specialist
Education: PhD and MA, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley; BA, Anthropology, Vassar College
Research interests: history of museum anthropology; collecting patterns of Native American art and material culture; Pacific Northwest art and culture; Andean archaeology; Southwestern archaeology

History and Culture

James Ring Adams
Senior Historian, Managing Editor, American Indian Magazine
Education: PhD, Government, Cornell University; BA, History, Yale College
Research interests: history of Contact; liminality; North Atlantic studies; Northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern tribes; indigenous legal and political theory

RDK (Doug) Herman
Senior Geographer
Education: PhD and MA, Geography, and Certificate, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; AB, Comparative Religion modified with Geography, Dartmouth College
Research interests: Hawai‘i and the American Pacific; place names; indigenous peoples and climate change; Pacific canoe-building and navigation

Mark Hirsch
Education: PhD, American History, Harvard University; MA, Comparative Anglo-American Social History, Centre for Social History, University of Warwick, Coventry, England; BA, American History, The City College of New York
Research interests: 19th- and 20th-century social and cultural history; U.S. Indian policy; Native–European contact; the making of the modern world

Patricia Jollie (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes)
Museum Technician
Education: BFA, Corcoran School of Art
Research interests: fine arts; Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere

Ramiro Matos (Quechua)
Education: PhD, Archaeology, BA, Ethnology and Archaeology, and licenciatura en antropología, University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru
Research interests: Andean archaeology and ethnography; Inka provincial administration; Inka ethnohistory; Inka Road system

Christopher Lindsay Turner
Cultural Research Specialist
Education: ABD, American Studies, Purdue University; MA, Cultural Studies, The Boston Graduate Consortium (conferred by Simmons College); BA, The State University of New York
Research interests: the cultural politics of land, history, and environmental issues; Native American governmental relations and contemporary issues; Haudenosaunee history and culture

Cynthia L. Vidaurri
Education: MA, Sociology (Folklore), Texas A&I University; BS, Government, University of Texas
Research interests: Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and U.S. Southwest; general folklore; traditional medicine; traditional belief systems; cultural/heritage tourism; traditional culture in marketing; ranching culture

Native Arts

Kathleen Ash-Milby (Diné [Navajo])
Associate Curator
Education: MA, Native American Art History with concentration in Native American Art, University of New Mexico; BA, Art History, University of Washington
Research interests: contemporary Native American art with an emphasis on non-traditional art forms, including new media, painting, sculpture, installation, and photography

Emil Her Many Horses (Lakota)
Associate Curator
Education: ABD, Studies in Philosophy, Loyola University; BA, Business Administration, Augustana College
Research interests: Northern Plains tribal arts

Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche)
Associate Curator
Education: High Point High School, Beltsville, Md.
Research interests: modern and contemporary art; 20th-century American history

Rebecca Trautmann
Research Specialist
Education: BA, Humanities, University of Texas, Austin
Research interests: modern and contemporary Native American art; Plateau baskets


Jacquetta (Jackie) Swift
Repatriation Manager
Education: MA, American Indian Studies, University of Tucson; BA, Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
Research interests: domestic and international repatriation; indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights; repatriation policy and development

Risa Diemond Arbolino
Repatriation Research Specialist
Education: PhD, Archaeology, Southern Methodist University; BA, Anthropology, Columbia University
Research interests: repatriation; prehistoric agricultural practices; archaeology of the American Southwest

Nancy Kenet Vickery
International Repatriation Specialist
Education: MA, Latin American Studies, American University; BA, Spanish, Western Washington University
Research interests: international repatriation and indigenous community development; Latin America and the Caribbean

Lauren Sieg
Research Specialist
Education: MA, Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; BA, Anthropology, University of Florida
Research interests: U.S. archaeology, especially the Midwest and Southeast; North American anthropology; repatriation law and practice; archives and collection-based studies; research ethics; sustainability

Terry Snowball
Repatriation Coordinator
Education: Senior Fellow, Religion and the Arts Initiative Project, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School; AD, Museum Studies and Two-Dimensional Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts
Research interests: domestic and international repatriation; intangible cultural heritage issues; intellectual property rights, ethics, and philosophy; sensitive collections and repatriation policy development