UW News

January 8, 2009

Burke Museum welcomes new curator of Native American ethnology

The Ethnology Department at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture welcomes Deana Dartt-Newton as the new curator of Native American ethnology.

A member of the Coastal Band Chumash, Dartt-Newton earned her doctorate in anthropology from the University of Oregon, focusing on Native American representation in museums and anthropological studies. She has received multiple awards for her research and is a frequent presenter at both anthropological and Native American conferences.

“Her expertise in indigenous methodologies in anthropology, museology, and Native American cultures will fill a very important niche and allow the Burke Museum to continue its leadership in these fields,” said Robin Wright, curator of Native American art at the Burke.

Dartt-Newton calls her new position a dream job. “I’m so excited,” she said. “The goals of my work have always been grounded in indigenous methodologies, meaning that it prioritizes the needs of the Indian community — I believe that the Burke supports this philosophy.”

Dartt-Newton is replacing the recently retired James Nason. “Dr. Nason is someone whose work I respect a great deal and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue his legacy of working with tribes and bridging the historic gap between museum and Native American studies,” Dartt-Newton said.

In addition to her position as the curator of Native American ethnology, Dartt-Newton will join the American Indian Studies program at the University as an assistant professor.

The Burke Museum’s Ethnology Department cares for objects of cultural heritage from living cultures of the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Asia. Portions of these collections are on display in the museum galleries. The ethnology collection staff and artifacts serve as valuable resources for the public.