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Pomo Basket (NMNH catalog no. E418874A)

Bonnie Newsom

Bonnie Newsom, Chair
Penobscot Indian Nation

Bonnie Newsom is a member of the Penobscot Indian Nation and serves as their Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. In this capacity, she ensures tribal compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, identifies and manages historic properties on tribal lands, consults with federal and state agencies relative to historic site protection, participates in public education initiatives and serves as the tribal point of contact for all archaeological issues. She also provides staff support to the Wabanaki Intertribal Repatriation Committee and serves on the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.  Her former positions include working as a research archaeologist with Archaeological Research Consultants, of Ellsworth, Maine and serving as Assistant Director of the Wabanaki Center at the University of Maine. Bonnie holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.S. in Quaternary Studies from the University of Maine. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Her research interests include NAGPRA and cultural affiliation, indigenous archaeologies, tribal consultation, the archaeology of the Penobscot River Valley, and aboriginal ceramics.  Bonnie has served on numerous boards and committees at both the local and national levels including the Abbe Museum, the Forest Society of Maine, the United South and Eastern Tribes Culture and Heritage Committee and NOAA's Marine Protected Areas Cultural Heritage Resources Working Group. Bonnie is the mother of four and lives with her husband Les in Eddington, Maine.  In her free time she enjoys tending her gardens, making jewelry, and spending time on the water and in the woods of Penobscot homeland.

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Shelby Tinsdale

Shelby J. Tisdale, Vice-Chair
Vice President of Curatorial and Exhibitions, Autry National Center of the American West

Shelby Tisdale received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1997. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado-Boulder where she studied anthropology and archaeology, and her M.A. from the University of Washington where she also majored in museum studies. She is currently the Vice President of Curatorial and Exhibitions at the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, which includes the Southwest Museum, Institute of the American West and the Institute of Women in the West. Shelby has over thirty-two years of combined experience in museums; anthropological, tribal museum and cultural resource management consulting; and, university teaching. She has published over thirty articles and book chapters relating to American Indian art and women in the west. She contributed to and directed the publication of the Oklahoma Book Award winning Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection, for the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her book, Fine Indian Jewelry of the Southwest: The Millicent Rogers Museum Collection (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2006) received the Ralph Emerson Twitchell Book Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico and the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association.  Her latest book, Pablita Velarde: In Her Own Words (Little Standing Spruce Publishing, 2012), is a full-length biography on this famous American Indian painter. Shelby became interested in repatriation in the early 1980s while working on her master’s thesis which resulted in a proposed repatriation policy for the School of American Research (now the School for Advanced Research). She reported on this at the Sacred Materials Conference held at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in 1985 and has been actively involved in recent repatriations at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she was the Director. She has served on the boards of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Mountain-Plains Museum Association.

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Tim Perttula

Timothy K. Perttula
Archeological & Environmental Consultants, Austin, Texas

Timothy K. Perttula is the owner and cultural resources director of Archeological & Environmental Consultants, LLC, a Cultural Resource Management firm established in 1996 with offices in Austin and Pittsburg, Texas. He was educated at Ohio State University (BA, 1975), and the University of Washington (MA in Archeology, 1977; and Ph.D. in 1989). Timothy has been involved in all aspects of archeological study since 1974, and has worked with Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas in Texas, and Southwest Missouri State University, as well as the Midwest Archeological Center of the National Park Service, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Texas Historical Commission. He specializes in the study of the native history of the Caddo Indian peoples, especially their ceramics, subsistence practices, and East Texas archeology, and has been the tribal archeological consultant to the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma since 1998, assisting them in NAGPRA and Historic Preservation Fund grants. In addition to publishing widely on the archeology and history of the Caddo in many articles and book chapters, including “The Caddo Nation” (1992) and “Archaeology of the Caddo” (2012, edited with Chester P. Walker), he is the editor of “The Prehistory of Texas” (2004/2013 editions).

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Jane Buikstra

George Milner
Professor, Pennsylvania State


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Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson
Historic Preservation Department, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Ian Thompson began learning how to chip stone tools from his uncle at the age of seven. As a youth, Ian also learned hide-work, bow-making, pottery, shell-work, and ground stone tools from a number of traditional artisans and on his own. Balancing this cultural education with western education, Ian studied at the University of Missouri (BA in anthropology, 2002) and the University of New Mexico (MA and PhD in anthropology, 2005 and 2008, respectively). Dr. Thompson's dissertation work (Joe Watkins committee chair) brought to light aspects of Choctaw traditional art and traditional knowledge towards the goal of their revitalization by Choctaw people. Ian is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and a Tribal Council-certified Choctaw Community Language Instructor. He has demonstrated his traditional artwork at NMAI three times. Currently, Ian serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Director of the Historic Preservation Department, Tribal Archaeologist, and NAGPRA Specialist for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Ian and his staff of 14 work to protect Choctaw sites in a nine state area, to restore abandoned Choctaw cemeteries, to repatriate Choctaw sacred objects and human remains, to research Choctaw history, and to educate about Choctaw culture. Ian authors a monthly column in the Tribal newspaper on Choctaw history and culture, and was a co-author of "Choctaw: A Cultural Awakening." He has lead recent Tribal efforts to revitalize Choctaw traditional pottery, personally teaching more than 100 classes. In limited spare time, Ian and wife Amy Thompson play Choctaw stickball and manage a small bison farm.

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Walt Lara

Walt Lara Sr.
Yurok Tribe, California


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Darlene Miller
Seneca Nation

Nya Weh Sge:no’

Greetings, I am Darlene Miller; I am honored to serve on the Repatriation Review Committee for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. I was selected as a Spiritual leader serving on the committee to ensure compliance to custom and tradition and policy and procedure according to the law. I am a member of the Hawk Clan--we have eight clans, birds and animals--and a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Alleghany Territory, which is located about 60 miles south of Buffalo, New York. The Seneca Nation has 8,000+ members and we are a matrilineal Nation. I started my term and attended my first meeting May 2014; it is a pleasure and an honor to serve the Native American community as the Spiritual representative on this committee. I grew up on the territory learning all the customs and traditional way of life of the Seneca and Haudenasaune (people of the longhouse). I learned the ways of our people so I could share it with my community and family. I grew up in the era when gardening was a necessity, so we planted and preserved our harvest for the long winters, picked berries, and stored them. I enjoy gardening, golf, sewing traditional clothing, and making baskets, teaching anyone who wants to learn. I am a Faithkeeper in the Coldsping longhouse (handsome lake follower) for approximately 20 years, charged with the lifelong task of learning, knowing, understanding, providing direction on protocol, and passing on the traditional customs of the ceremonial protocol. Professionally I have served in several pivotal positions in the Seneca Nation Health Systems, having served as the Acting CEO for the Health Systems and the Supervisor, Manager, and Advocate liaison to the Seneca Nation Council, as well as the Health Systems Controller, third party billing and contract health services. I served a four year term as an elected official for the Seneca Nation of Indians and was employed as Legislative Specialist. One specialty and passion was the oversight of the Health, Education and Welfare committee for the Seneca community. I served on many committees in my tenure, always advocating for the community and the youth in our community because they are the future leaders. I am currently a member of the advisory board for the Faithkeeper Nesting Program (tribal), a community representative for the Community Health Assessment committee. I am a past representative for the Seneca Nation and Health Systems with the United and Southeastern Tribes and National Congress of American Indians. I am a member of the Six Nations Agricultural Society and past vice president for the Alleghany territory, and have served for a number of years. In May of 2014 I was nominated and selected for the Enduring Spirit Award. This is an award honoring women in leadership and the community. It was a great honor to be presented this award and I was the first to be honored east of the Mississippi.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History