Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Call for Board Member Nominations: Council for Museum Anthropology

2017 Call for Nominations: Three Board Members, One Student Board Member
Council for Museum Anthropology
Deadline Feb. 13, 2017

The Council for Museum Anthropology invites candidate applications and nominations for people to serve on the CMA Board. Four CMA positions will be open in the upcoming AAA elections:  3 Board Members and 1 Student Board Member.

If you are interested in serving in one of these positions, or would like to nominate someone else as a candidate, please email the CMA Nominations committee soon through Robert Leopold at  Questions can be sent to the same address. Candidates must submit a biographical sketch, a brief platform statement, and a photo before February 13, 2017.

Candidate Material Instructions
1.     Biographical sketch
Format biographical sketches exactly as follows: include bold headings where appropriate (CV’s will not be accepted):
                  Full Name (First & Last) Education (highest degree earned, institution where degree was earned, year degree was earned) Positions Held: (Limit 5 -most recent first): Title, (dates from-to) Name of Institution; Interests and/or Activities: (Limit 3); Significant Publications: (Limit 3 – most recent first): Title, co-authors/editors if applicable, where published, year published.
Wanna Wyn (PhD, University of Whereiwannabe, 1985) Positions Held: Grand Inquisitor (1999-Pres) Search the World Over, Inc.; Leader of the Pack (1988-1998) Wearethebest University; Asst Leader of the Pack (1980-1988) Whimsy College; Interests and/or Activities: ritual, migration, presented paper at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Presenting Papers; Significant Publications: I Didn’t Really Know What I Was Talking About, but Now I Do (with Yule Shirley Wyn, PhD), The Perfect Press, Inc, 2010; “Trust Me, I know what I am talking about” (with Imrunin Aginstya, PhD) Journal of Ultimate Knowledge, 1998.

2.     Platform statement (you do not need to include this title in your submission)
The platform statement should be approximately 200 words in length. Statements significantly over 200 words will be cut down to 200 words before publishing.
3.     Photo

Please submit a photo electronically with your candidate material. Full material should be sent by email to Robert Leopold, CMA Nomination Committee, Email: Photos will not be returned.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Guest Article: 2016 Indigenous International Repatriation Conference: A Global Dialogue on “Shifting the Burden” in Museology

Written byBlaire Topash-Caldwell*

Last fall the Association on American Indian Affairs held the 2016 Indigenous International Repatriation Conference at Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Centering on a theme of “Shifting the Burden,” the topics and discussions covered in this important event ranged from viewing repatriation in terms of morality and human rights frameworks to providing research tools and strategies for tribes to use in their engagements with the labor intensive work of repatriation in their home nations or across international borders. The conference was well attended by not only museum professionals, but by state officials, tribal leaders from all over the world, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, policy makers, art students from the Institute of American Indian Arts, anthropologists, tribal lawyers, elders, and even law students from the University of New Mexico just to name a few.

I attended this conference as a volunteer. As a result, I was not able to hear from panelists in all sessions. However, my experience of the important dialogues taking place have largely centered on both Native and non-Native  collaboration as well as the recognition of shared cultural and historical ethics between tribal communities and museums, even in distant places. These entanglements are realized in moments when Native peoples are able to effectively have agency and voice in the development of museology around the world. One panel entitled, “Museums: Meaningful Consultations, Ethics & Policies in International Repatriation” provided particularly telling examples of these challenges and developments. Panelists discussed that with the adoption of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and sometimes with the consultation requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), nationally there have been important strides toward the protection and repatriation of ancestors, ceremonial items, and other objects of cultural patrimony. The international arena, however, is a completely different story. Panelists discussed that not only are there limited or nonexistent legal recourse for tribes to have their ancestors and scared objects returned to them from other places around the world; but it is also compounded by different cultural expectations and language barriers. One panelist, Colleen Medicine (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe), Cultural Repatriation Specialist, shared her experiences in the unsuccessful repatriation of an Ancestor from the Karl May Museum in Germany. One particularly telling example of this issue comes from her story about the trip she and tribal members took to the museum. Medicine and her colleagues traveled to the Karl May Museums in order to explain the spiritual and material violence the museum was causing as a result of putting our Ancestor on display. By coincidence, during this ineffective meeting, the town outside erupted in an exhibition of Native American “culture” with German citizens dressing up and parading about in their debaucherized interpretations of Native North American regalia. Medicine’s story showcases the challenges that Indigenous peoples around the world face when their limited power and legal agency is coupled with seemingly incompatible ethics and worldview of colonial or otherwise more powerful nation-states.

Another example, however, shows promise for the impact that meaningful dialogue can have in museum relations with Indigenous communities. Marcella LeBeau (Cheyenne River Sioux), Wounded Knee Survivors Association, told a compelling story about her experiences repatriating a Ghost Dance shirt from the Kelvingrove Museum in Scotland. Working with the museum and ultimately providing them with a non-ceremonial copy of the shirt, LeBeau’s work not only resulted in the successful return of this sacred object, but opened up creative exchange of ideas between Native peoples and the museum. These exchanges ultimately had material effects on the structure of Scottish cultural resource management policy and practice such as the development of repatriation policies and protocols which did not previously. This process of repatriation, and experiences similar to it, are what we as both Indigenous peoples and intellectuals hope the future of museology can be.

Rebecca Tsosie (Yaqui), Professor of Law and Special Advisor to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Arizona and James E. Rogers School of Law gave a powerful keynote address at the conference. Contextualizing the unequal scale of power for some groups’ cultural patrimony over others, she asks (not verbatim), Do you think an American object of national patrimony like the Constitution or the original American flag would sit in the British Museum? Of course not! That would demand it back; and they would get it! As the original Native nations to this land, she argues that we deserve the same agency and power. She also pointed to the crises of “check-the-box” style consultation of some museum professionals and state officials while drawing parallels in her speech to the joke that capitalist enterprises make of cultural resource protection laws. This is, Tsosie argues, particularly problematic when large amounts of capital and private property are in involved since these powerful and large-scale undertakings often evade cultural resource protection laws like NEPA and NHPA. As such, Tsosie’s passionate speech recognizes the concurrent Dakota Access Pipeline protests (NoDAPL) when she asks what we are to do in an age when increasingly desperate and lethal forms of natural resource extraction are not only demolishing our Ancestors and sacred sites, but our access to clean water? What good does consultation do when we aren’t operating within the same set of moral obligations to Mother Earth, to our children, and to our grandchildren? Whose burden is it? Indigenous peoples cannot carry that burden alone.

Paralleling the issues of this event, a field hearing was held on October 18th by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Committee discussed how to prevent the trafficking of Native American objects of cultural patrimony and ceremonial items across national borders. The office of Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) chaired the hearing and released a comment stating that “New
Mexico is home to 23 tribes whose cultural heritage is harmed by the theft of sacred and culturally significant objects, and the illegal trafficking of sacred and cultural items is an issue for tribes throughout Indian Country.” In response to this issue, Udall has sponsored a resolution called Protect Patrimony Resolution which “condemns the theft, illegal possession or sale, transfer, and export of tribal cultural items.” These critical discussions in the academy, in museums, and at the policy level all revolve around the central challenges of our time: attaining the full actualization of the conditions of representation authority of our heritage, the rights of our Ancestors to walk on in peace, and the shared moral imperative we all have to each other, future generations, and Mother Earth.

*Blaire Topash-Caldwell is an enrolled member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on environmental policy, Native American women’s role in the protection and revitalization of local ecologies, and the role that coalitions between non-tribal environmental agencies and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge holders play in the resistance of invasive resource extraction in the Great Lakes region.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Call For Applications: Sponsored Equal Justice Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute

Beginning with “Equal Justice” in Fall of 2017, SFAI will award up to 60 sponsored residencies to artists of all disciplines as well as content experts across other fields of creative inquiry. This initiative to sponsor residency fees is a direct response to a global rise in intolerance and division, and the increasingly critical role for institutions like SFAI to foster social equity.

We seek to broaden accessibility to the residency experience and increase collective knowledge about each annual theme by bringing together artists with other innovators in disciplines such as architecture, planning, policy, education, science, health, law, and activism. We strategically integrate artistic experimentation, scholarship, and community engagement through collaborative research and works that transcend the limits of traditional disciplines and create new forms, narratives, and approaches to address the central issues of our time.

Together, we can cultivate creative leadership and invest in community, culture, and place to re-imagine a more equitable world. The new application deadline is February 12, 2017, and is available here.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Conference Announcement: Inaugural Int'l Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology: "Museum Anthropology Futures"

Inaugural Int'l Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology: "Museum Anthropology Futures"
May 25-27th, 2017 at Concordia University, Montreal, QC

This conference invites museum anthropologists (academics, students, and museum professionals), artists, art historians, as well as other curators and community thinkers and actors for 2.5 days of stimulating sessions, sustained knowledge exchange, and museum visits. “Museum Anthropology Futures” seeks to spark critical reflection and discussions on (1) the state of museum anthropology as an academic discipline; (2) innovative methods around the use of collections; (3) exhibition experiments that engage with anthropological research; and (4) the use of museums to effectively take on pressing social concerns such as immigration, inequality, racism, colonial legacies, heritage preservation, and cultural identities, representation, and creativity as productive responses to these.

This will not be your traditional conference experience! “Museum Anthropology Futures” is designed to facilitate focused, frank, vivid conversations (roundtables, workshops, pecha kucha sessions, pop-up exhibits) and engage a broad public through keynotes and the dissemination of textual and audio-visual reportage in a range of media (press, podcasts, twitter, websites) during the post-conference period.

If you have any questions, please email the organizing committee here
Conference Organizing committee:
-Erica Lehrer (Concordia University)
-Jen Shannon (University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and University of Colorado, Boulder)
-Joshua A. Bell (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution)
-John P. Lukavic (Denver Art Museum)

In order to help the planning committee please respond to this brief, two question survey to let us know how likely you are to attend "Museum Anthropology Futures:"

Thursday, December 08, 2016

2017 Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, June 26-July 21st

SIMA POSTERSIMA is a research training program offered by the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History with major funding from the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation. The program seeks to promote broader and more effective use of museum collections in anthropological research by providing a supplement to university training. Working intensively each summer with 12-14 students interested in museum research, the institute:
  • introduces students to the scope of collections and their potential as data
  • provides training in appropriate methods to collect and analyze museum data
  • makes participants aware of a range of theoretical issues relating to collections
  • positions students to apply their knowledge within their home university
The curriculum, including both seminars and hands-on workshops, teaches students how to navigate museum systems, select methods to examine and analyze museum specimens, and recognize the wealth of theoretical issues that museum data can address. Topics include the critical analysis of documentation, the development of observational skills, the definition of appropriate data sets, and reconstruction of the "social life" of objects. Unique Smithsonian resources such as the annual Folklife Festival, the National Anthropological Archives, the Human Studies Film Archives, and other museum collections complement lessons in which students explore the integration of museum-based data with other types of information, such as fieldwork and the critical analysis of visual data and the documentary record. Click to view the 2016 syllabus and read about the 2016 curriculum. 
SIMA 2012 NAAMuch learning centers around individual research projects that students propose as part of the application process. During SIMA students engage in initial data collection and continually rework their project proposals as they become familiar with the nature of museum data and work on the construction of a research question.

Catherine Festival 2012The program culminates in a symposium at which students present preliminary research findings and a refined project proposal suitable for implementation upon return to their home universities. Descriptions of past student research projects are available here. Smithsonian collections are an integral part of the training. The primary resource is the ethnology artifact collection in the Department of Anthropology and related materials in the associated National Anthropological Archives and the Human Studies Film Archives. Students are able to explore issues and develop projects on any topic for which there are relevant artifacts in the ethnology collections. 

Explore the databases.

Stephanie photographs the totem poleSIMA is intended for graduate students who are preparing for research careers in cultural anthropology who are interested in using museum collections as a data source. The program is not designed to serve students seeking careers in museum management or whose research field is archaeology. Students at both the M.A. and doctoral level are considered for acceptance. Students in related interdisciplinary programs (Indigenous Studies, Folklore, etc.) are considered if the proposed project explores issues of importance to cultural anthropology and if an anthropology faculty member at the student's university commits to supervise its implementation. All U.S. students are eligible for acceptance, even if studying abroad. International students can be considered only if they are enrolled in a university in the U.S.A. Canadian First Nation members are eligible under treaty agreements.

Read what former students have to say about SIMA
Applicants must submit a short statement of interest and an initial proposal for an individual research project (see full application instructions.) A letter of commitment is required from a faculty member who will supervise further development and implementation of the project in the year after the student's participation in SIMA. Students will be notified of acceptance 4 weeks after the application deadline.
The program covers students’ room, board, and tuition. Housing is provided and a small stipend will be provided for food and other local expenses. Participants are individually responsible for the cost of travel to and from Washington, DC. This is an intensive residential program and the participants are expected to devote full time to the training. Preparatory readings are assigned to ensure that students arrive with comparable background knowledge.
Candace GreeneSmithsonian faculty for the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology:
Dr. Candace Greene, SIMA Director
Dr. Joshua A. Bell, SIMA Co-Director
Dr. Mary Jo Arnoldi, Department Chair, Curator of African Ethnology
Joe Horse Capture, Associate Curator, National Museum of the American Indian
Dr. Ann McMullen, Curator, National Museum of the American Indian
Instruction is enriched by lectures and collection workshops led by additional scholars from throughout the Smithsonian as well as by visiting speakers. Faculty at students' home institutions are important partners who will guide SIMA participants in the implementation of what they have learned during the Institute. Such faculty need not have experience in museum-based research, but they must be committed to helping students continue the project they will have begun during SIMA and turn their research prospectus into a publishable paper.
Ira Jacknis, Phoebe A Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Jason Baird Jackson, Indiana University
Cara Krmpotich, University of Toronto
Christian Feest, University of Vienna
Aaron Glass, Bard Graduate Center
Chris Gosden, University of Oxford
Steven Hooper, University of East Anglia
Jennifer Kramer, University of British Columbia
Howard Morphy, Australian National University
Fred Myers, New York University
Nancy Parezo, University of Arizona
Ruth Phillips, Carleton University
Robert Welsch, Franklin Pierce University
Mary Jo Arnoldi, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Joseph Horse Capture, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Gwyneira Isaac, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Jason B. Jackson, Indiana University
Ann McMullen, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Howard Morphy, Australia National University
Catherine Nichols, Loyola University Chicago
Nancy Parezo, University of Arizona

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Conference Opportunity: Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic Word"

Conference Updates and Upcoming CFP Deadline on December 15th!
"Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic Word"
College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, June 14-17, 2017

Hosted by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program, the Addlestone Library, and the Race and Social Justice Initiative at the College of Charleston

Conference planners are seeking proposals for workshops, roundtable discussions, panels, and individual papers from public history professionals, scholars, educators, librarians, archivists, and artists that address issues surrounding the interpretation, preservation, memorialization, commemoration, and public application of major themes in local, regional, and Atlantic World history. Based on the United Nation’s declaration of 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, and the conference location in Charleston, South Carolina, on the second anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Mother Emanuel Church, the conference will particularly highlight speakers and topics relevant to transforming practices of interpreting the history of slavery and its race and class legacies in Charleston and historically interconnected local, regional, and international sites.

Featured Speakers include:
Keynote Lecture: Dr. Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum for African American History and Culture
Mr. Michael Allen, National Park Service
Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University
Dr. Richard Benjamin, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
Ms. Alissandra Cummins, Barbados Museum & Historical Society
Dr. Rex Ellis, Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
Ms. Makiba Foster, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Dr. Bayo Holsey, Rutgers University
Dr. Ned Kaufman, Kaufman Heritage Conservation
Mr. Caryl Phillips, Author and Playwright
Ms. Fath Davis Ruffins, Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

For more information about how to submit a proposal, click here.

For questions or concerns contact Dr. Mary Battle at

June 14th Conference Workshop Options include:
“Giving Voice to Long-Silenced Millions: Interpreting Slavery on Historic Sites,” 9 am-5 pm
Led by: Kristin Gallas, Tracing Center, Author of Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites

“Facilitated Dialogue on Social Justice and Public History,” 9am-5 pm
Led by: Braden Paynter, The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

“Historical Documentation and the African American Experience,” 9 am-12 pm
Led by: Miranda Mims and Steven G. Fullwood, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Friday, December 02, 2016

This Weekend: The National Museum of the American Indian 2016 Native Art Market

Indian Country Today Media Network, December 1, 2016
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting its annual Native Art Market on December 3rd and 4th at its Washington, D.C. and New York City locations. Contemporary and traditional works will be available for purchase. In Washington, the market will be in the Potomac Atrium from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on both days. In New York City, the market will be in the Diker Pavilion for Native Arts and Cultures, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
The work of more than 35 notable Native artists will be featured at each venue and there will be traditional and contemporary jewelry, basketry, paintings, sculpture, beadwork, photography, and fine apparel. Artists were chosen through a competitive process and include jewelry designer Kristen Dorsey (Chickasaw Nation), fashion designer Peter Williams (Yupik), painter and illustrator Monte Yellow Bird Sr. (Three Affiliated Tribes).
More here

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Position Announcement: Museum Specialist (Collection Management), National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

This position is located in the Museum Collections and Operations, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution (SI). The employee is a highly skilled expert in collections management procedures and protocols and is responsible for the physical care, accountability, processing, and packing of all collections (including loans) located at NMAI-DC.

-Responsible for the safety and maintenance of museum collections items and loans at NMAI-DC.
-Oversees the safe packing, transport, movement, and handling of objects in NMAI custody at NMAI-DC, displaying a knowledge of collections care practices that promote the merging of Native beliefs and protocols for collections care with museum standards of preservation and access.
-Directs staff, contractors, and other authorized individuals in safe handling of objects, the implementation of installation and deinstallation plans, and safe movement of objects. Oversees the work of staff, volunteers, and interns assigned to assist in NMAI-DC exhibits, and evaluates results of assigned tasks.
-Acts as the on-site Registrar serving as primary liaison for the Registration Office and outside lenders regarding materials on loan, the coordination of shipping arrangements, and maintenance of a complete and current inventory of collections in storage and on exhibit.
-Works in cooperation with a number of Smithsonian offices including the National Collections Office, the Office of Protection Services, the Risk Management Office, and several offices within the Smithsonian Facilities including the Office of Facilities Management and Reliability and the Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management. May serve on SI wide committees regarding collections management issues. -The incumbent represents the Museum to representatives of the Native American community, tribal officials, other museums and galleries, national and international governments, private foundations or cultural institutions, scholars of all disciplines usually through specialized tours of NMAI-DC.

Job Requirements
Key Requirements
Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
May need to complete a Probationary Period
Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.

Applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria: Best Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and excels in most of the job related competencies above. Better Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and satisfies most of the job related competencies above. Good Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements, but does not satisfy most of the job related competencies above to a substantive degree. This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no preference eligible in that category is passed over to select a non-preference eligible in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Preference eligibles who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the vacancy questions will not be considered for this position.

Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-9 level in the Federal service or comparable pay band system related to the work of this position. This specialized experience is defined as work in museum registration or museum collections management for the stewardship of museum collections by overseeing the safe packing, transport, movement and handling of museum objects; preparing condition reports for museum objects, and using automated museum information systems.

You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal service or comparable pay band system related to the work of this position. This specialized experience is defined as serving as a specialist in museum registration or museum collections management for the stewardship of museum collections by overseeing the safe packing, transport, movement and handling of museum objects; preparing condition reports for museum objects, and using automated museum information systems.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

More here.