Lectures and Workshops

Marshall McKay Seminar for Empowering Native Knowledge  
Perspectives on Native Art and Museums

Friday April 22 – Saturday April 23

About the Event

Friday April 22 – Saturday April 23 

Named in honor of Marshall McKay, former Chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Council and the first Native person to serve as Chair of the Autry’s Board, the Marshall McKay Seminar seeks to empower Native knowledge. It will address topics that impact Indian Country—and beyond. 

This year’s inaugural seminar delves into the significant changes that have reshaped museums and their relationship to Native history, culture, and art. The two-day symposium, which will be livestreamed across Indian Country, will feature a variety of perspectives from Native artists, knowledge keepers, scholars, and museum professionals. Panels will explore how Native curators are changing the museum narrative, the role of tribal museums, and the interpretation of Native art, with a particularly deep dive into California Native art.  


Friday, April 22 

Register here for live-stream

9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks 

  • Lynn Valbuena (San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) 

10:15 a.m.  

Session 1: Opening Keynote: Native Presence in Museums  

  • W. Richard West, Jr. (Cheyenne), Autry Museum of the American West 

11:00 a.m. 

Session 2: Native Curators in Context 

Today there are more Native Americans working in museums than ever before. Native curators play a critical role in the interpretation and presentation of culture and this session will explore how they balance the needs of community and museum priorities.  

  • Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha), Metropolitan Museum of Art 
  • heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw Nation), First Americans Museum 
  • Josie Lee (Ho-Chunk), Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center 


1:30 p.m. 

Session 3: The Role of Tribal Museums 

With over 200 tribal museums in the US, these institutions play an increasingly important role in the interpretation and presentation of their culture and addressing the needs of their communities. This session will explore the importance of tribal museums from a variety of perspectives.  

  • John Haworth, (Cherokee Nation) Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums 
  • Delphine Baker, (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation) MHA Nation Interpretative Center 
  • Steven Karr, Agua Caliente Cultural Museum 

3:15 p.m. Break 

3:30 p.m. 

Session 4: Closing Keynote: Looking Forward 

  • James Pepper Henry (Kaw/Muscogee), First Americans Museum 

4:00 p.m. End of Day 


Saturday, April 23 

Register here to attend morning sessions in person

Register here for livestream for morning session  

Register here to attend afternoon sessions in person

Register here for livestream for afternoon session

9:30 a.m. Doors Open 

10:00 a.m. Opening Remarks 

10:30 a.m. 

Session 1: Defining Native Art 

Native American art serves a variety of audiences in multiple ways. From the collector to the museum/art gallery and tribal members, defining Native art can be challenging. This session will explore the diversity of Native art from three different perspectives.  

  • Ashley Holland (Cherokee Nation), Art Bridges Foundation 
  • Nancy Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache), University of California, Los Angeles 
  • Celestina Castillo (Tohono O’odham), United American Indian Involvement
  • Dallin Maybee (Seneca and Northern Arapaho)  


1:30 p.m. 

Session 2: Reflections on California Native Art 

At a national level, California is often missing from the Native American art discussion. The rich and varied landscape of California Native art is important, and this session will explore the texture of the works that have been and continue to be produced by California Native artists.  

  • Amanda Wixon (Chickasaw Nation), Autry Museum of the American West 
  • Mark Johnson, San Francisco State University 
  • Clint McKay (Dry Creek Pomo, Wappo and Wintun)  
  • Leah Mata Fragua (Northern Chumash Tribe) 
  • Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva) 

3:30 p.m. 

Session 3: Closing Keynote: Marshall McKay’s Legacy and Relationship to California Native Art 

  • David Cartwright, Autry Museum of the American West  

4:00 p.m. End of Public Events