Gwyneira Isaac

is Curator of North American Ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution and her research investigates the dynamics of and intersections between culturally different knowledge systems. She is part of the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices program, which supports Indigenous communities to access collections as part of their efforts to revitalize endangered languages and knowledge. Her research focuses on interdisciplinary theories and methods that provide greater insight into the intercultural dynamics of knowledge diversity. In particular, she studies areas where Native American and non-Native knowledge systems intersect. Central to this study is her fieldwork and ethnography of a tribal museum in the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico where she has examined the difficulties faced by Zunis operating between Zuni and Euro-American approaches to knowledge (2007). Her explorations into the intersections of different knowledges (either culturally or disciplinarily distinct) include how technology and media are used within the discipline of anthropology, as explored through the reproduction of knowledge through replicas and models (2011). She is currently working on researching the use of collections by Native American communities for cultural revitalization efforts.  Gwyneira is overseeing all secondments and activites realated to CoLing within the Smithsonian.

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