J. Anthony Paredes Memorial Plenary

J. Anthony "Tony" Paredes

The James Anthony “Tony” Paredes Memorial Plenary is a featured presentation at each of the annual meetings of the Society. The Plenary highlights and explores an important issue in contemporary Native American life.

The Paredes Plenary was established through a distinctive partnership between the SfAA and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. This partnership grew from a long-term relationship between Prof. Paredes and the Tribe dating back to 1971. At that time, Prof. Paredes initiated a series of studies which focused on the history and culture of the Tribe. He continued these efforts for the next thirteen years, documenting through oral tradition, marriage records, and land transactions, the rich and vibrant culture of the Tribe. In turn, these data provided substantive evidence for the application for Federal recognition which the Tribe was awarded in 1984.

Following his death in 2013, the leadership of the Society began to explore ways to celebrate Tony’s professional life. It was at this point that Tony's widow, Alleen Deutsch, provided the vital linkage through her connections and exchange with the Tribal elders and leadership. With her assistance, the concept of the Paredes Plenary was formulated and a request for financial support was submitted to the Tribe. In 2015, the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians endowed the Plenary with a generous contribution.

Previous Plenaries


Retrospective of Challenges and Impacts of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The Act established over 220 village corporations and 13 regional corporations. These Native corporations have changed the social and economic landscape of Alaska. This session will examine the impacts, challenges, and successes of the Act. The focus will emphasize how well-being and identity, health services, and food security has changed in the last fifty years for Alaska Natives.

CHAIR: MONTEITH, Daniel (U Alaska SE)

HAVEN, Forest (U Alaska SE) “Subsistence is their word, not ours”: ANCSA, ANILCA, and the Settler Colonial Grammar of Subsistence in Alaska
BROWN, Jennifer (U Alaska SE) From Corporation to Community: Tribal Legibility after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 
SCHULTE, Priscilla (UAS) Alaska Native Youth in Southeast Alaska: Still Learning from the Elders
MONTEITH, Daniel (U Alaska SE) ANCSA and the Challenges and Successes in Southeast Alaska


Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 on the Navajo Reservation (Risk & Disaster TIG)


TAMIR, Orit and TORRES, Christopher (NMHU) Contributing Factors to the Spread of Covid-19 Spread on the Navajo Reservation
GLEBOV, Viktor and GALLEGOS, Gil (NMHU), COLBAUGH, Rich and GLASS, Kristin (Volv Global) Machine Learning Model to Inform COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Policy
RIABOVA, Svetlana and GALLEGOS, Gil (NMHU) Machine Learning Time Series Clustering for Understanding COVID-19 Spread in the U.S. and Navajo Nation
IBARRA, Jesse, GALLEGOS, Gil, and TORRES, Christopher (NMHU) Understanding SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Utilizing Autoencoders
STEELE, Manuel (St. Mary’s Coll), GALLEGOS, Gil and TAMIR, Orit (NMHU) Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 on the Navajo Reservation

DISCUSSANTS: COLBAUGH, Richard and GLASS, Kristin (Volv Global)

During Spring 2020, the Navajo Nation made the national and international news due to its extraordinary high rate of COVID-19 infection and death rates. By September, the Navajo Nation was praised for its handling of the pandemic. Meantime, a substantial amount of data on COVID-19 has been collected in the US and around the world. Our inter-disciplinary team of computer scientists, an applied cultural anthropologist, and a chemist collects publicly available data and uses machine learning to distill salient features from existing datasets. The goal is to establish a culturally sensitive model of the pandemic spread on the Navajo reservation.


Honoring Native American Heritage through Collaborative Design

CHAIRS: GARCE, David (GSBS Architects) and PARRY, Darren (Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Indian Nation)

PANELISTS: GARCE, David (GSBS Architects), PARRY, Darren (Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Indian Nation), GROSS, Michael (Councilman, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Indian Nation), BOEKA CANNON, Molly (Executive Director, Utah State U Museum of Anthropology), CANNON, Kenneth (President/Owner, Cannon Heritage Consultants Inc)

Native American leaders strive to balance traditional heritage with contemporary cultural influences, while anticipating future impacts on traditional culture. In order to collaboratively design Tribal facilities, design professionals must seek to understand Tribal values and economic pressures from the point of view of Tribal people. Making a conscious effort to honor the unique aspects of each Tribal group helps achieve the balance between traditional and contemporary. This presentation discusses how cultural influences can inform meaningful design solutions that honor heritage and environment, along with contemporary values. 


Sustainable Relationships: The Future of Applied Anthropology in Native Communities



COOK, Katsi (Akwesasne Mohawk midwife, environmentalist, Native American rights activist, and women’s health advocate)

FOWLER WILLIAMS, Lucy (UPenn, Assoc Curator, Jeremy A. Sabloff Keeper, Penn Museum)

STARBARD, Robert (Tlingit, Administrative Director of the Hoonah Indian Assoc)

LEFLER, Lisa (Western Carolina U, Director, Culturally Based Native Health Programs)

HOLLAND, TJ (Cherokee, EBCI Cultural Resource Officer)

MARSH, Diana (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History)

This year’s theme for the annual SfAA meeting is Sustainable Futures. The topic for the Paredes Memorial session will be centered around the practices and ideologies that can serve to sustain relationships between native communities and the anthropologists who work with them. The relationships between communities and the anthropologists who work with them were of particular interest to Tony and he sought to foster their sustainability and survival. These relationships can take a number of forms in various contexts, and this session will provide a space for the exploration of the potential in this diversity.

Listen to the Plenary Session online


Decolonizing Both Anthropology and the Museum: Native American Practitioners’ Perspectives

CHAIR: FAYARD, Kelly (Poarch Band of Creek Indians/Yale U)


AGUILAR, Joseph (San Ildefonso Pueblo/UPenn) 

RYKER-CRAWFORD, Jessie (White Earth Chippewa/IAIA)

CHAVEZ-LAMAR, Cynthia (Hope-Tewa/Navajo/Nat’l Museum of the American Indian)

CHAVARRIA, Antonio (Santa Clara Pueblo/Museum of American Indian Arts and Culture)

Both anthropology and museum collecting share a colonial past with a power imbalance between exogenous ethnographers and curators on the one hand, and the communities they seek to represent, on the other.  Native American communities, in particular, have been the subject of extensive anthropological research and museum collections but rarely control the presentations and images of their own culture This session will discuss the transformations when Native American communities demand and achieve control of their own cultural property both in museums and via ethnographically collected materials such as language, oral narratives, and religious traditions.  Examples of these transformative narratives  will be presented by Native American representatives describing installations at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the Museum of American Indian Arts and Culture.  This panel will be a roundtable style event, and we encourage participation from the audience!  A reception will follow.

Listen to the Plenary Session online


Protection of Natural Resources: Cultural Heritage Strategies of First Nations and Native Americans

CHAIRS: HENDERSON, J. Neil (Choctaw Tribe Member, U Oklahoma SPH) and SCHENSUL, Stephen L. (UConn Med Sch)

INTRODUCTION: SCHENSUL, Stephen L. (UConn Med Sch) The Legacy of J. Anthony Paredes

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: JOHN, Grand Chief Edward (First Nations Summit Political Executive and North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) Protecting Natural Resources through Principles of Reconciliation and Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Grand Chief Edward John, LL.B is the Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation on Stuart Lake in Northern British Columbia, member of the First Nations Summit Task Group, former Co-Chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, participated in the development of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2007.

POINT, Gwen (Stó:lõ Nation Member, U Fraser Valley) Our Actions Today Impact the Next Seven Generations: Stó:Lô Approaches to Land and Water Protection

HILLAIRE, Darrell (Lummi Nation Member, Lummi Indian Business Council and founder of the Lummi Youth Academy) The Use of Film to Convey Native American Voices and Actions to Preserve the Earth

MENZIES, Charles R. (Gitxaała Nation, UBC) On the Front Lines!: Gitxaała, Oil, and Our Authority

Listen to the Plenary Session online.


Evening with the Elders at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians: A Living Tribute to Dr. J. Anthony Paredes

In 2013, the Office of Archives and Records Management at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians launched the new ‘Evening with the Elders’ program which became an overwhelming success and is still growing in popularity today.  This monthly series features the audio recordings of renowned Anthropologist Dr. J. Anthony Paredes who interviewed tribal leaders in the 1970s and collected data on tribal history that exists nowhere else on Mother Earth. This session showcases segments of the interviews from this highly praised series which brings tribal voices out into the light of the modern-day community setting.  It demonstrates how the extensive anthropological work of Dr. Paredes has long-ranging influence on the Tribe’s archival acquisition expansion, Museum exhibit development, and historic Picture Book publication.  The panelists discuss the impact of Dr. Paredes’ treasured recordings on the tribal community today.

CONVENOR: ALVAREZ, Roberto R. (SfAA President)

SPEAKERS: BRYAN, Stephanie A. (Tribal Chair, Poarch Band of Creek Indians),

THROWER, Robert (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Poarch Band of Creek Indians),

SUWANEE DEES Ed.D., Deidra (Tribal Archivist and Director, Office of Archives and Records Management, Poarch Band of Creek Indians),

ROTH, Ph.D., George (Office of Federal Acknowledgment, retired),

FAYARD, Ph. D.  Kelly (Bowdoin College, Member, Poarch Band of Creek Indians),

OVERBEY, Ph.D., Mary Margaret (Overbey Consulting LLC, University of Tampa)


A Tribute to Tony: Destinations & Contributions of J. Anthony "Tony" Paredes (1939-2013)

This tribute session honors James Anthony “Tony” Paredes, past President of SfAA, ethnologist and applied anthropologist and recognizes his contributions from destinations in a career spanning more than 45 years. American Indian anthropology remained Tony’s lifelong destination and presenters consider his work among American Indian peoples, especially in the Southeast.  Collaborative research led to other destinations, and presenters consider Tony’s side trip to fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.  Significant outcomes - scholarly, public and policy-relevant - are highlighted.  Discussants identify common themes and expand on Tony’s contributions. Time is allotted for session attendees to offer additional tributes. 

CHAIR: OVERBEY, Mary Margaret (U Tampa, USF)

ARCHAMBAULT, JoAllyn (Smithsonian) A Generous Man

ROTH, George (Interior Dept, retired) Practical History and Poarch Creek Recognition

HENDERSON, J. Neil (U Oklahoma) The Perspective of ‘Empathetic Objectivity’: J. Anthony Paredes’ Contribution to American Indian Studies

OVERBEY, Mary Margaret (U Tampa, USF) Gone Fishing: A Side Trip to Fisheries Yields a Good Catch

DISCUSSANTS: SCHENSUL, Stephen L. (UConn Sch Med) and LAMPHERE, Louise (UNM)

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