Heather Howard


324 Auditorium
542 Auditorium Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyAmerican Indian and Indigenous Studies

Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology


I center my work in collaborative relationships which promote the value of Indigenous knowledge frameworks to scholarship and research that is meaningful to community. I carry out research with and for Indigenous partners in varied settings ranging from clinics and social service agencies, to community centers, schools, and museums. I study the social relations through which authoritative knowledge is constructed in healthcare, education, and other services to understand their implications for structural inequities, ethics, policy, and social change. Several projects examine the intersection of gender, culture, and human/non-human relations in Indigenous women’s work and activism experience in community history, heritage item making, and education. Currently we are examining the relational and reciprocal processes engaged in intergenerational teaching of heritage arts as foundations for Indigenous sovereignty, community restorative practices, and as technologies of public education, in projects supported by a national fellowship in public engagement from the Whiting Foundation, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada as part of work with the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures. Since serving for eight years as a program coordinator at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto over two decades ago I have remained continuously engaged with urban Indigenous community issues. Most recently I have been working on a project about the legacy of my late partner and Indigenous activist, Rodney Bobiwash, and contributed to a joint report on the impacts of COVID-19 with the hemispheric Urban Indigenous Research Network to the United Nations Human Rights High Commission. I have also researched Indigenous approaches to community wellness, mental health, and chronic illness for some time, now writing critically about reconciliation and new settler technologies aimed at the treatment of diabetes. I have held an appointment as an affiliated faculty member at the University of Toronto with the Centre for Indigenous Studies since 2009 and was a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2016 and 2017. I have co-edited four books, served as guest editor for the American Indian Quarterly, and published more than five dozen articles, chapters, reviews, and reports, the most recent of which are listed at my department website: http://anthropology.msu.edu/author/howardh/