Editorial: A San Felipe scholar will lead the Smithsonian into the future

Congratulations to Cynthia Chavez Lamar of San Felipe Pueblo on becoming the new director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Cynthia Chavez Lamar

Chavez Lamar will be the first Native American woman to serve as museum director when she takes over on Feb. 14.

The path to his top job in Washington, DC, is paved with experiences in New Mexico.

Chavez Lamar, whose ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo, holds a doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico.

She has worked twice at the museum which she will now direct. Early in her career, she was a museum intern and associate curator at the National Mall Museum before returning to New Mexico to direct local institutions. From 2006 to 2007 she was director of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and from 2007 to 2014 she was director of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe.

Chavez Lamar returned to the Smithsonian in 2014, as deputy director of museum collections. In this role, she guided the overall stewardship of the collections. All told, she is an accomplished curator, author, and researcher whose research has focused on Southwestern Indigenous art.

“Dr. Chavez Lamar is at the forefront of a growing wave of Native American museum professionals,” said Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian. towards indigenous communities and towards all communities.

It is always a proud moment to see a New Mexico native rise to a position of national significance.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned because it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than that of the editors.

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