Roundtable Discussion and Q&A, Moderated by Margaret Bruchac (U Penn)

In what ways have processes of decolonization, indigenization, and anti-racism been successfully implemented, and how might we build on these?

Stephanie Cunningham

Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham works to paint a larger portrait of the museum sector and challenge racial inequities in the field. Her advocacy aligns with Museum Hue, an organization she co-founded and serves as Creative Director, supporting Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.

As a United Nations Human Rights fellow, Stephanie applies the UN’s ratification of cultural rights to her work and calls for greater recognition and representation in the arts industry.

She also received the Americans for the Arts 2019 American Express Emerging Leader Award for her work. As the United States reckons with a legacy of structural racism, oppression, and discriminatory policies and practices; Stephanie centers cultural equity as an essential part of achieving social justice.

Ryan Rice

Ryan Rice, Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawake, is an independent curator and is currently an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Arts / School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University (Toronto, ON). His curatorial career spans 25 years in museums, artist run centres and galleries. Rice served as the Chief Curator at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and also held lead curatorial positions at the Indigenous Art Centre (Ottawa, ON), named curatorial fellowships with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Victoria, BC) and the Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff, AB), and Aboriginal Curator-In-Residence at the Carleton University Art Gallery. He received a Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York; graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking and received an Associate of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts. 

Rice’s writing on contemporary Onkwehonwe art has been published in numerous periodicals and exhibition catalogues, and he has lectured widely.

Some of his exhibitions include ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native LandFLYING STILL: CARL BEAM 1943-2005Oh So IroquoisScout’s HonourLOREHochelaga RevisitedALTERNATIONSoul Sister: Re-imagining Kateri TekakwithaCounting CoupStands With A Fist: Contemporary Native Women Artists and ARTiculations in Print. In the fall of 2017, he presented the award-winning inaugural exhibition of the new Onsite Gallery in Toronto with his exhibition “raise a flag: work from the Indigenous Art Collection 2000-2015” and is currently touring a solo exhibition “BAIT: Couzyn van Heuvelen” through 2021.  Rice’s service to community, leadership, and organizational experience includes co-founder and former director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Education Advisory Council, the Inuit Art Foundation and two terms on the Native American Arts Studies Association board of directors among others. 

Alaka Wali

Alaka Wali is a curator of North American Anthropology in the Science and Education Division.  She was the founding director of the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change from 1995- 2010. 

Woman with green scarf and hoop earrings in colorful jacket smiles in front of bookcase

She currently curates the sizable North American collection which includes a contemporary urban collection.  She also works closely with colleagues in the Science Action Center.

Lucy Fowler-Williams

Lucy Fowler Williams is Associate Curator and Senior Keeper of American Collections of the Penn Museum.  A cultural anthropologist, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. from the University of New Mexico.  Before coming to Penn she worked at the Indian Arts Research Center of the School of American Research in Santa Fe, and completed internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  She has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the School of American Research, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Penn Museum.

Among her projects, she wrote the Guide to the Ethnographic Collections of the Penn Museum (2003), co-edited Native American Voices on Identity, Art and Culture: Objects of Everlasting Esteem (2005), developed the online Louis Shotridge (Tlingit) Digital Archive (2011), and curated the ongoing Penn Museum exhibition, Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now (2014-2021). Lucy has traveled to Southeast Alaska on numerous occasions working closely with Tlingit colleagues who have strong interests in the Museum’s renowned historic collections.  Her research interests include issues surrounding indigenous identity, histories of collecting and representation, material culture, and textiles of the Americas. 

Ingrid Masondo

Ingrid Masondo’s involvement in the arts and heritage sectors spans more than two decades. Her practice has encompassed artist and project management, production management, curatorial and archiving work, within music and photography.

She worked at various institutions as – artist manager at Making Music Productions; archivist at the UWC-RIM Mayibuye Archives; researcher and curator at Badilisha Poetry Radio; photo editor and member of the editorial team at Chimurenga Chronic (in Cape Town) and as projects and curriculum manager at the Market Photo Workshop (in Johannesburg). Since 2015, Ingrid has been the curator of photography & new media at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) in Cape Town. Much of her focus at ISANG has been to support the presentation and acquisition of works by invisibilised artists and communities.

Photo of woman laughing and holding hands up behind a wire art sign that spells out "arden" behind it

As a photographer, she has worked extensively on independent projects that focus on the body (habits, practices, performances). In recent years, she has focussed on how the personal interconnects with systemic and institutional pressures that include the family, the state and the market, amongst many others. Although plagued by issues of representation & authorship, power and circulation in the field, she still considers the moment of creating a photograph as magical – whether working alone, collaborating with others to make images or (re)creating these alone in the darkroom.

Margaret Bruchac

Margaret Bruchac, Abenaki, is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, Affiliated Faculty in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, and the Coordinator of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative. She specializes in 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.

Bruchac’s 2018 book, Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists won the first Council for Museum Anthropology book award.  She has been an Andrew W. Mellon and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and has also been awarded fellowships from the School for Advanced Research and the Ford Foundation.  In her multi-modal career as a performer, ethnographer, historian, and museum consultant, Bruchac has long been committed to critical studies of colonial histories, archives, and museums, while developing interpretations of Indigenous histories that challenge erasures and stereotypes.  Dr. Bruchac has served as a consultant on Native American history and material culture for exhibitions and events at the American Philosophical Society Museum, Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, Plimoth Plantation, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, among other museums. She is also a Research Associate in the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Culture, based at the University of Toronto.  She also directs a restorative research project, called “The Wampum Trail,” that focuses on the materiality, meaning, interpretation, and recovery of historical wampum objects.