Dr. Margaret Bruchac spends her time restoring Native American heritage and forming relationships. She is an assistant professor of anthropology and coordinator of Native American and indigenous studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Bruchac held a lecture at Keene State College on Friday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. in the Mountain View Room. The lecture was about Native American studies and reconsidering acts of ethnographic search and rescue. She described how early anthropologists would authenticate and capture indigenous objects and put them in museums to preserve them. She also explained how most of the time, the interpretations were skewed.
Dr. Bruchac stressed how passionate she was about this topic and said she has the access to these indigenous objects because of her job; however, Native people do not have that opportunity. Her job is to go to these museums and look at the objects, learn from them and use research to find out where they originally came from. She said she has had several museums ask her to come and take a look at what they have because they are curious and excited to learn about the materials they have in their possession. Bruchac said people tend to treat these items as if they are in isolation. But, she said not only does she study these objects, but also the people who curate them. “There’s this moment when objects are visible and accessible in a way they haven’t been before,” Bruchac said. She said there are many groups in the world losing their heritage like the Native Americans due to tactics of strategic alienation. Bruchac said she focuses on restorative reconciliation to bring people back together. One of her goals is to uncover data on cultural heritage that has been hidden in museums, and bring it back into the world.
This lecture was put on by the English Department. Dr. Brinda Charry from the English Department said this event occurs every other year. Charry said it is important to learn about Native people and their culture because they lived here before we did. She also said Dr. Bruchac was chosen to be the guest speaker because she is a well known scholar and is part of a Native American community in the area.
The Mountain View room filled to capacity leaving people standing outside the doors. The lecture involved a powerpoint presentation along with Dr. Bruchac sharing her knowledge. The room then opened up for questions at the end, which went on for about 30 minutes.
Sophomore Hailey Horan was one of the many students who attended this lecture. She said it was mandatory for a class but she really enjoyed it. She said she liked how the powerpoint presentation involved pictures, mostly with Dr. Bruchac in them working in museums. Horan said she is taking an American studies class where she is learning about anthropology. She said she could apply what she has learned in the lecture in her class, and the pros and cons that come with anthropologists.
Haleigh Patch can be contacted at