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 home >> online collections >> event archive >> archive of past symposia >> saa pre-conference symposium 2006 >> speaker biographies

Experience the Event

Society of American Archivists
Pre-Conference Symposium:
Ethnographic Archives, Communities of Origin, and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Participant Biographies

Linda Barwick has undertaken field research in Central and Northern Australia, Italy and the Philippines. She is a great believer in collaborative research, and enjoys working with communities and linguists to produce well-documented published recordings of sung traditions. On the academic side she is particularly interested in song language, musical analysis and aesthetics of non-Western song traditions, and the implications of emerging digital and networking technologies for establishing community access points to research results. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, where she works on song documentation projects with various Indigenous communities, and Director of the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC), a digital archive established in 2003 to preserve and make accessible Australian researchers’ field recordings in the Asia - Pacific region. For more information see External Link and her homepage Link

Kenneth Bilby is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, cultural historian, and recordist. Co-author of Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae (Temple University Press, 1995 [second, revised edition, 2006]), he has worked and recorded in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Suriname, French Guiana, Dominica, Bahamas, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Vincent. He has published numerous scholarly articles on Caribbean music and culture, and has produced or compiled fifteen albums (LPs and CDs), several of which feature his own field recordings. During the 1990s he was engaged by Mickey Hart to oversee research for the Endangered Music Project at the Library of Congress, and after this served as co-editor of the Caribbean Voyage series of CDs released by Rounder Records, consisting of previously unreleased field recordings from Alan Lomax's path-breaking 1962 expedition to the islands of the eastern Caribbean. In 2004 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to research a book on the vital role of deep-rooted rural musical traditions in the development of urban popular music (including ska, reggae, and dancehall) in Jamaica. His most recent book, True-Born Maroons (University Press of Florida, 2005), is a study of oral narrative and cultural memory among the Maroons of Jamaica based on field research spanning twenty-five years.

Michael F. Brown is Lambert Professor of Anthropology & Latin American Studies at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 1980. He received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. His research and teaching interests include religion, medical anthropology, the Native communities of North and South America, and the moral dilemmas of life in pluralist societies. Brown is the author of five books, including War of Shadows: The Struggle for Utopia in the Peruvian Amazon (co-authored with Eduardo Fernández), The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age, and Who Owns Native Culture? (2003)

David L. George-Shongo, Jr. is a resident of Allegany Indian Reservation in Western New York. He graduated from the local high school and went on to graduate from St. Lawrence University in 1998, with a BA in Anthropology. While at college he held several internships with the Seneca Iroquois National Museum. One of these internships included the responsibility for contacting museums regarding the repatriation of collection materials under the terms of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). After college, he worked for the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Historical Preservation Office. In 2003, David became the first archivist for the Seneca Nation. Since 2004, he has served as the first chairperson of the SAA's Native American Archives Roundtable.

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) is a poet, writer, curator, lecturer and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover over one million acres of land. She has developed key federal Indian laws since 1975, including repatriation, religious freedom and language, culture and arts protection. She is President of The Morning Star Institute, an award-winning columnist for Indian Country Today, and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit regarding the Washington professional football team’s name. A School of American Research 2004 Artist Fellow and Summer Scholar, she is Guest Curator for exhibits at the National Museum of the American Indian, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum. She has curated art shows for the Peabody Essex Museum, and in the House and Senate Rotundas. A founding NMAI Trustee and Carter Administration political appointee, she has also served as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.

Robert Leopold (symposium co-chair) is director of the National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives at the Smithsonian Institution, co-chair of the Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records, and an adjunct professor in the Museum Studies Program at George Washington University. Leopold served as project manager for the award-winning online exhibit Lakota Winter Counts and is currently collaborating on digital initiatives with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Rosetta Project. He serves on the Archives Board of Advisors of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Ethnographic Thesaurus Advisory Board. Leopold received his Ph.D. in Anthropology and African Studies from Indiana University after conducting two years of ethnographic fieldwork on the social organization, ritual and cosmology of the Loma of Liberia. Along with David l. George-Shongo, Jennifer O'neal Walele, and Karen j. Underhill, Leopold participated in the 2006 Flagstaff, Arizona workshop that drafted Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.

Margaret Kruesi is a cataloger for multi-media ethnographic collections at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Prior to her employment at the Library of Congress, she served as the manuscript librarian at the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.

Margaret Mills is currently Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University. She was raised in Seattle and attended college at Radcliffe (Harvard), where she studied with Albert Lord, whose work on oral epic inspired her to study oral narrative performance and oral learning in social context. Joining an archeological project in Iran after graduation, she found living Persian language genres in Afghanistan especially interesting, on account of their combination of a very old written tradition and a lively oral tradition. Three decades of warfare has had drastic effects on this cultural legacy that are yet to be assessed. Margaret's more recent research has included oral history interviews with Afghan friends, and an assessment project with folklorist/ethnologist colleagues in Persian-speaking Tajikistan on the physical protection and potential for revivification of archived oral performance materials (music and speech genres) from the Soviet period. Both Tajikistan and Afghanistan present grave situations for cultural materials preservation and the viability of performance traditions.

Susan Secakuku was born and raised in the Hopi village of Sipaulovi located in Second Mesa, Arizona. She is the owner of Secakuku Consulting and provides services including various aspects of museum operations, research on Hopi cultural issues and development of cultural tourism initiatives. She is also the author of Meet Mindy: A Native Girl of the Southwest,external link a children's book that introduces audiences to the contemporary life experiences of a young Zuni; the central character is Secakuku's own niece. Before returning to Hopi in 2006, she worked for the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., where she managed a national outreach program for tribal museums. She received her M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University along with a Museum Studies Master's Certificate and her B.S. in Community Resources and Development from Arizona State University.

Guha Shankar is Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. As the Center's resource person for community, place-based education projects, he conducts workshops in ethnographic research methods and skills-based training in field documentation in a range of communities and institutions. At the Center he helps produce public outreach and education programs such as lectures, symposia, and concerts. Along with Center colleagues he is helping develop digital technology solutions to the challenges of maintaining, preserving, and providing access to multimedia collections. Shankar's research interests and publications include cultural politics and performance in the Caribbean and developments in the field of ethnographic film. He has produced and edited films on material cultural traditions and community life in a variety of cultural contexts. Shankar earned his Ph.D. in 2003 from the Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration in Folklore and Public Culture. Prior to undertaking graduate studies at the University, Shankar was Media Production Specialist and documentary film producer at the Center for Folklife Programs at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (1985-1993).

Jane Sledge is the Associate Director for Museum Assets and Operations at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She formerly served as the Information and Technology Manager. Sledge is responsible for overall management and public access to the museum's physical and intellectual assets, which include the care and management of the museum’s collection of more than one million ob April 27, 2011 recordings, and archival materials. Sledge also oversees the museum’s Web site, Intranet site and Web-based projects; technology and multimedia systems required to support museum exhibitions and spaces, including state-of-the-art audiovisual and theater operations; and the application systems which document the contemporary lives of Native peoples from throughout the Western Hemisphere. Sledge is responsible for the National Museum of the American Indian’s three facilities: the museum on the National Mall, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, and the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Md. Sledge has extensive experience in project management including large-scale collaborations, program administration, and content engineering. She has worked in museum information resource management for nearly 30 years. Her experience includes serving as assistant director for museum services at the Canadian Heritage Information Network, collections information system administrator at the Smithsonian Institution, head of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization — International Council of Museums’ Museum Information Centre in Paris (UNESCO-ICOM), and as project manager at the Getty Information Institute in Los Angeles, California. Sledge has written and contributed to more than 15 scholarly publications and museum journals about museum information systems. She has served as a board member at the International Committee for Documentation (1995-1998) and the Museum Computer Network (1989-1991). Sledge has a master's degree in museum studies from the University of Toronto and both a bachelor’s degree in history with honors and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Karen J. Underhill is the Head of Special Collections and Archives at the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Cline Library. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from NAU as well as two Master of Arts degrees from the University of Arizona – one in History and one in Library Science. Karen worked for the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson and the San Diego Historical Society before joining the Cline Library staff in 1990. Her professional interests include Native American archives, oral history, and digital applications. As part of a recent sabbatical, Karen hosted — along with Stewart Koyiyumptewa and Willow Powers — hosted an international gathering in Flagstaff (April 2006) which led to the development of draft best practices for the respectful care and use of Native American archival materials held in non-tribal archives and libraries: Link The conference participants represented fifteen Native American, First Nation, and Aboriginal communities.

Jennifer O'Neal Walele (sympoisum co-chair) is a member of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde/Chinook, and an Archivist at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. She has assisted The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde's Cultural Resource Department in researching best practices for gaining intellectual control of tribal collections at non-tribal repositories. She is a member of the newly created Native American Archives Roundtable within the Society of American Archivists and a scholarship recipient of SAA's "Strengthening Tribal Archives" gathering held at the 2005 annual conference. She participated in the international gathering in Flagstaff, Arizona (April 2006) that drafted best practices for the respectful care and use of Native American archival materials. Jennifer has worked at various archive repositories including Princeton University's Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, University of Arizona's Special Collections Library, and Utah State University's Special Collections Library. Jennifer earned an M.L.S. at the University of Arizona as part of the Knowledge River program for Native American and Hispanic students, and an M.A. in History at Utah State University. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in History at Georgetown University.

Alvin Windy Boy, Sr. is a former Chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Council of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation in Box Elder, Montana and currently the Chippewa Cree Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. He has also worked extensively in the area of American Indian health awareness and health policy.


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