The history of American anthropology is inextricably linked to that of American Indian and Alaska Native Nations. Consistent with AAA’s strategic priority to build a culture of trust and accountability within the Association that recognizes past and ongoing harms, transforms barriers into opportunities for justice-oriented engagements, creates durable action, and re-evaluates access to all facets of the organization, at the request of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists, the Executive Board has commissioned a Task Force to examine these links. You can view the AAA Apology to the Indigenous Community.


This Task Force will explore the relationships between anthropologists and American Indian and Alaska Native Nations, and recommend ways in which the Association can address harms and remove barriers that prevent American Indian and Alaska Native anthropologists from entering the profession and advancing their careers.

Duration of Committee

18 months (currently seeking extension)

Committee Reports to

AAA Executive Board


This Task Force is authorized to take its investigations into whatever areas it believes appropriate, but it will be generally guided by three sets of questions:

  • What is and has been the impact of anthropology and anthropologists on American Indians and Alaska Natives? What role have anthropologists and the Association played in developing and implementing US federal policy? In cultural heritage and language preservation, promotion, and destruction? In environmental resource exploitation and protection? In perpetuating or overcoming inequities in healthcare and education?
  • In what ways have anthropology and anthropologists produced scholarship that has reinforced or combatted stereotypes of American Indians, and what have been the consequences for American Indian / Alaska Native individuals and communities? How can anthropology and the Association better support American Indian anthropologists and their allies in combating these stereotypes and attracting more American Indians into anthropology?
  • In what ways have anthropologists supported or undermined tribal sovereignty and land rights? Moving forward, in what ways can the discipline and the Association better serve Tribes in defending and realizing their sovereignty and their land rights and land claims in the 21st century? How can anthropology and anthropologists improve their allyship with tribes in a respectful, responsible and relevant manner?

Membership and Appointment

Chair: Barbra Meek; Members: Katie Sampeck, Richie Meyers, Scott Ketchum, Shannon Speed, Sven Haakanson, Beth Leonard, Deanna Byrd, Noah Collins, Viki Eagle


Report of findings and recommendations provided to the Executive Board by May 2024

Meetings and Schedule

By zoom as needed

Staff Liaison

Ashley Bruckner, Assistant Manager of Membership Services and Section Relations

Contact Information

American Anthropological Assocation 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1301, Arlington, VA 22201, Phone: (703) 528-1902, Fax: (703) 528-3546