Dr. Michael Adler, Hunt Institute Fellow

Mike Adler, PhD,  joins the Hunt Institute as a Fellow, bringing with him his expertise in community engagement with the Puebloan Nations in New Mexico.

Dr. Adler is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University and holds the William Clements Jr. Endowed Executive Director position in the SMU-in-Taos program. His academic training is in archaeology, and his primary research focus is the complex ancestries of Native Americans, particularly Puebloan, communities in the American Southwest. He has also worked overseas in Jordan on early village archaeological contexts. He has a strong interest in the current roles (and sometimes, failures) of archaeology in the creation of knowledge about the past.

He collaborates with Native American communities to investigate concepts of ancestry, cultural identity, and how communities create and recreate that complicated concept called “the past.” He also works with traditional acequia irrigation cooperatives in Northern New Mexico to document their ancestral land and water use systems. He works with his students and colleagues to bring archaeology and knowledge of the past to the public and considers experiential education as one of the most important legacies we can provide to future generations.

When asked what his motivation is for doing impact work he replied, “I would say that I’m privileged to be able to help communities better understand their unique and collective pasts.  Every community deserves a past that best reflects their accomplishments and challenges, and to do that one has to listen first to the community needs and interests, and continue listening as the past becomes better understood.”

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