Dr. Margaret (Marge) Bruchac, of Abenaki Indian descent, is a
scholar and historical consultant specializing in museum anthropology, historical interpretation, and cultural performance, with a focus on representations of northeastern Native American Indian
peoples from the colonial era to the present.
Current Research: Check out "On the Wampum Trail" for reports on Bruchac's restorative research, tracking the circulation of wampum belts in museum collections to recover cultural patrimony.
Research & Teaching: Dr. Bruchac is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of
Pennsylvania and Coordinator of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Initiative at Penn. From 2008-2012, she was an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Connecticut. She has also taught as Adjunct Faculty at Amherst
College, Keene State College, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on Native American history and material culture; cultural property and repatriation; ethnographic practice and museum representation; colonial encounters and transculturalism; cultural performance and oral traditions; and Indigenous archaeologies.
Awards and Fellowships: During 2011-2012, Bruchac was in residence at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM, with the support of both a Ford Fellowship and the SAR Katrin H. Lamon Fellowship. In 2006-2007, she was a Visiting
Indigenous Fellow at Harvard University, in 2004-2005, she was a Five College Fellow at Amherst College, and in 2002-2004, she received two Graduate School Fellowships from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her children's book Malian's Songwon the 2006 American Folklore Society's "Aesop Award."
Museum Consulting: Dr. Bruchac has been a professional museum consultant since 1997. She has designed and presented performance programs, walking tours, and teacher workshops, and consulted on exhibitions for the Adirondack Museum, Historic Deerfield, Penn Museum, Plimoth Plantation, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, among others. In 2001, her work as "Molly Geet, the Indian Doctress" at Old Sturbridge Village was profiled by Howard Mansfield for Yankee magazine in the article: “I Still Live: the Survival of New England’s Native Tribes.”
Performance:Marge occasionally performs traditional and contemporary Abenaki songs, stories, and dances, solo or in a group with “Hand in Hand,” “The Dawnland Singers,” or “The W’Abenaki Dancers.” She has been a featured performer at the First Nations Festival, Keepers of the Word, Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Lake Champlain Festival, Missisquoi Abenaki Pow Wow, Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, Old Songs Festival, and hundreds of other venues. In 2000, the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers recognized Bruchac as "Storyteller of the Year" for her cultural performance.
Community Service: Dr. Bruchac's volunteer museum service includes positions as Advisor to the Wampanoag Indigenous Program at Plimoth Plantation (1998-2009), Trustee for Plimoth Plantation (2007-2010), Trustee for Fort Ticonderoga (2004-2007), and Trustee for Historic Northampton (1998-2009).
Professional Service: Bruchac was a member of the Five College Native American Indian Studies Curriculum Committee from 1995-2008. From 2003-2009, she served as the Repatriation Research Liaison for Amherst College and Smith College. She is a member of the Indigenous Advisory Board for the World Archaeological Congress. In 2009, Dr. Bruchac was elected Secretary to the Council for Museum Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.
All text and photographs copyright 2008 by Margaret M. Bruchac and Justin H. Kennick. All rights reserved.