Margaret Bruchac

Professor Emerita, Anthropology

416 Penn Museum



2007 PhD at University of Massachusetts Amherst; 2003 MA at University of Massachusetts Amherst; 1999 BA and Smith Scholar at Smith College

Research Interests

Museum Anthropology: material culture, curation and representation, cultural patrimony, living history interpretation, repatriation. Native American Studies: Indigenous epistemologies, colonial encounters, ethnohistory, transculturalism, sovereignty. Cultural Expression: performance, cultural recovery, language revitalization, Indigenous arts and technologies, oral traditions, ethnomusicology, visual anthropology. Indigenous Archaeologies: historical memory, material analysis, decolonizing theory, cultural resource management.

Selected Publications


2018. Margaret M. Bruchac. Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

2012. Margaret M. Bruchac. Dreaming Again: Algonkian Indian Poems. Bowman Books, Northeastern Native Authors Series. Greenfield Center, NY: Greenfield Review Press. 

2010. Margaret M. Bruchac, Siobhan Hart, and H. Martin Wobst, eds. Indigenous Archaeologies: A Reader in Decolonization. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

2004. Frederique Apffel-Marglin and Margaret M. Bruchac. Exorcising Anthropology’s Demons. Dissenting Knowledges Pamphlet Series No. 2. Penang, Malaysia: Multiversity and Citizens International.

ARTICLES & CHAPTERS (partial list)

2024. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Object Lessons: Reflexive Research & Restorative Methodologies." In Working as Indigenous Archaeologists: Reckoning New Paths Between Past and Present Lives, edited by George Nicholas and Joe Watkins, 615-624. London: Routledge Press

2024. Margaret M. Bruchac. "A Pragmatic Approach to Reconciliation: Thoughts on Transforming Repatriation Practice." In Pragmatism and the New Museum Anthropology, edited by Christina J. Hodge and Christina Kreps, 120-134. London and New York: Bloomsbury Press.

2022. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Of Animacy and Afterlives: Material Memories in Indigenous Collections." In Invisible Labour in Modern Science, edited by Jenny Bangham, Xan Chacko, and Judith Kaplan, 71-80. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield International.

2021. Margaret M. Bruchac and Diana E. Marsh. "Ephemeral Encounters: Reflections on Representing Jefferson and Native America at the American Philosophical Society." The Public Historian 43 (4) (November 2021): 28-62.

2021. Margaret M. Bruchac and Laura Peers. “Recovering Wampum in English Museums: The Search for Metacom’s Belts.” Journal of Museum Ethnography 34 (March 2021): 113-126.

2021. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Colonizing the Indigenous Dead." In “Participant Observations: The Morton Collection and Legacies of Scientific Racism in Museums.” History of Anthropology Review, February 19, 2021.

2020. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Visions of War: A 17th Century War Club Embedded with Wampum." Historic Deerfield Vol. 18 (Autumn 2020): 40-45.

2019. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Encounters in Ontario: Acts of Ethnographic Search and Rescue." In Disuptive Voices and the Singularity of Histories, edited by Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach, 235-280. Histories of Anthropology Annual Volume 13. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.

2018. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Broken Chains of Custody: Possessing, Dispossessing, and Repossessing Lost Wampum." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 62(1):56-105.

2018. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Visualizing Native People in Philadelphia's Museums: Public Views and Student Reviews." In Penn Museum blog, Beyond the Gallery Walls.

2017. Margaret M. Bruchac. Book Review: Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology by Jane Lydon and Uzma Z. Rizvi, eds., and Decolonizing Indigenous Histories: Exploring Prehistoric/Colonial Transitions in Archaeology, by Maxine Oland, Siobhan M. Hart, and Liam Frink, eds. Collaborative Anthropologies 9(1-2) (Fall-Spring 2016-2017):184-195. 

2017. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Object Matters: Considering Materiality, Meaning, and Memory." In Penn Museum blog, Beyond the Gallery Walls

2017. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Living Pasts: On Anthropological Being and Beings." History of Anthropology Review 41 (2017).

2016. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Ephemeral Encounters and Material Evidence." Anthropology News. Fall 2016.

2016. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Hill Town Touchstone: Reconsidering William Apess and Colrain, Massachusetts." Early American Studies (Fall 2016):712-748.

2015. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Deep Description and Reflexivity: Methods for Recovering Object Histories." In Beyond the Gallery Walls. Penn Museum.

2014. Margaret M. Bruchac. "My Sisters Will Not Speak: Boas, Hunt, and the Ethnographic Silencing of First Nations Women." Curator: The Museum Journal 57(2):151-171.

2014. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge." In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, Claire Smith, ed., chapter 10, pp. 3814-3824. New York, NY: Springer Science and Business Media.

2014. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Decolonization in Archaeological Theory." In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, Claire Smith, ed., chapter 258, pp.2069-2077. New York, NY: Springer Science and Business Media.

2012. Margaret M. Bruchac and Siobhan M. Hart. "Materiality and Autonomy in the Pocumtuck Homeland." Archaeologies, Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 8(3):293-312.

2011. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Revisiting Pocumtuck History in Deerfield: George Sheldon’s Vanishing Indian Act." Historical Journal of Massachusetts 39(1/2) (June 2011): 30-77. 75th Commemorative Issue.

2010. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Lost and Found: NAGPRA, Scattered Relics and Restorative Methodologies." Museum Anthropology 33 (2):137–156. Theme issue: “Looking Back, Looking Forward: NAGPRA after Two Decades.”

2010. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Constructing Indigenous Associations for NAGPRA Compliance." Anthropology News 51(3):5, 8 (March 2010). Invited column for special theme issue: “Repatriation.”

2006. Marge Bruchac. "Abenaki Connections to 1704: The Sadoques Family and Deerfield, 2004." In Captive Histories: Captivity Narratives, French Relations and Native Stories of the 1704 Deerfield Raid. Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, eds. Pp. 262-278. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

2006. Michael F. Brown and Margaret M. Bruchac. "NAGPRA from the Middle Distance: Legal Puzzles and Unintended Consequences." In Imperialism, Art, and Restitution. John H. Merryman, ed. Pp. 193-217. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2005. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Earthshapers and Placemakers: Algonkian Indian Stories and the Landscape." In Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonizing Theory and Practice. H. Martin Wobst and Claire Smith, eds. Pp. 56-80. London: Routledge Press.

2004. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Native Presence in Nonotuck and Northampton." In A Place Called Paradise: Culture and Community in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1654-2004. Kerry Buckley, ed. Pp. 18-38. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

2001. Margaret M. Bruchac. "Molly Has Her Say." In Keepers of the Morning Star: Native American Women Playwrights. Jaye T. Darby and Stephanie Fitzgerald, eds. Pp. 317-373. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

TECHNICAL REPORTS (partial list)

2010. Margaret M. Bruchac. Affidavit Regarding Request for Repatriation of Wampum Belts at Sotheby’s. Report prepared for testimony for the Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on Burial Rules and Regulations, Onondaga Nation, Syracuse, NY.

2009. Margaret M. Bruchac. Handling Report: Handling and Transfer of Native American Skeletal Remains from the Middle Connecticut River Valley and Western Massachusetts at Amherst College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst c. 1865-present. Report to Five College Repatriation Committee, Amherst, MA.

2007. Robert Paynter, Margaret M. Bruchac, Laurie Castonguay, Siobhan M. Hart, and Angela Labrador. Summary of Findings Regarding the Cultural Affiliation of Native American Collections from the Middle Connecticut River Valley. Report to Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

2006. Margaret M. Bruchac. Report of Progress on Compliance with NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act), FY 2005-2006. Report to Provost, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.


2021 - 2023. “Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present.” Co-P.I. with Tulia Falleti, Ricardo Castillo-Neyra, Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Michael Hanchard, Jonathan D. Katz, Richard M. Leventhal, and Michael Z. Levy (all at the University of Pennsylvania). Andrew W. Mellon Foundation “Just Futures” Initiative Grant.

2020. Visiting Scholar in Residence, Museum Studies Program, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

2018 - 2019. “Widening the Circle: Building a Community Knowledge Sharing Digital Platform from Great Lakes Indigenous Cultural Heritage Research Data.” Co-P.I. with Heidi Bohaker (University of Toronto) and Heather Howard (Michigan State University), Connections Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

2016 - 2017. Career Enhancement Faculty Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (now called the Institute for Citizens and Scholars), Princeton, NJ.

2015 - 2017. “Fictive Kin: Re-assembling Frank Speck’s Native Relations and Collections.” Faculty Research Grant from the University Research Foundation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

2014 - present. “On the Wampum Trail: Restorative Research in North American Museums.” Summer Travel Grants from the Director’s Field Fund, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA.

2011 - 2012. Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Excellence in College and University Teaching from the National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC.

2011 - 2012. Katrin H. Lamon Scholar in Residence, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM.

2011. Phillips Fund for Native American Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

2010. Franklin Library Resident Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

2007. McLellan Distinguished Visiting Professorship in North Country History and Culture, History Department, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY.


Marge Bruchac on

Margaret M. Bruchac on ResearchGate


Courses Taught

ANTH 1490   Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies

ANTH 3368   Anthropology of Museums

ANTH 2307/6307   Contemporary Native Americans

ANTH 2308   Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast

ANTH 3328   Performing Culture, Native American Arts

ANTH 5940   Indigenous Theory and Decolonizing Methodologies

ANTH 6550   Methods and Grant-Writing for Anthropological Research

ANTH 002   Anthropological Study of Culture: Cross-Cultural Analysis


Former Coordinator of Native American & Indigenous Studies at Penn; Affiliated Faculty in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center; Consulting Scholar to the American Section of the Penn Museum; Graduate Group in the History of Art



Faculty Status