Curator of North American Ethnology, National Museum of Natural History, USA
Dr. Gwyneira Isaac is a research anthropologist and curator of North American Ethnology in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Her research focus is on how Native American communities narrate their own histories, as described in her book Mediating Knowledges (2007), which tells the origin story of a tribal museum in Zuni, New Mexico. She is also interested in how different media, such as photography, exhibit models and now 3D printing, help us to understand how anthropologists have used different technologies over time to depict humans and humanity, asking who controls these visual narratives and why? At the Smithsonian, she is part of the Recovering Voices program that supports communities in accessing collections as part of their efforts to revitalize endangered languages and knowledge. Her current research projects also include understanding Native American concepts of health and wellbeing, especially through cultural revitalization practices.