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North American Ethnology

Dr. Peter Whiteley with Lee Wayne Lomayestewa
(Hopi, Bear Clan)


Dr. Peter Whiteley (Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of New Mexico) is Curator of North American Ethnology. Dr. Whiteley studies the cultures, social structures, social histories, and environmental relations in Native North America from the 17th century to the present.

His research on Native North American societies and histories is based on field ethnography and archival documents: principally the Hopi of northern Arizona, where he began fieldwork in 1980; Cayuga and other Six Nations Iroquois in northeastern North America, beginning in 1999; Hupa in northwestern California, beginning in 1993; and Eastern and Western Pueblos beginning in the late 1970s. He continues to publish on society, culture, and history in all these regions. He has also worked extensively for Native American communities, especially in regard to land and resource rights. His most recent major work concerns a reconstruction of the social forces and historical processes at work in the split of the Third Mesa Hopi town of Orayvi in 1906: The Orayvi Split: a Hopi Transformation, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 87, 2008. He is currently engaged in an extensive comparison of the evolution of kinship systems cross-culturally, especially of Crow-Omaha type, in collaboration with Dr. Ward Wheeler (Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, AMNH), a project funded by the National Science Foundation.

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