Thompson, Sally

Anthropologist
Dept of Anthropology
The University of Montana - Missoula
Professional Summary: 

I've spent over thirty years working with the native tribes of the Rocky Mountain West. Trained as an anthropologist (Ph.D., CU, Boulder, 1980), I have worked as an archaeologist, ethnographer, and ethnohistorian. My dissertation research focused on assessing human adaptations to climate change at the Plains-Mountain interface of Wyoming and Colorado through the examination of Holocene archaeological data. Since then, several key projects, including water rights work with Taos Pueblo, research into traditional practices by the Salish on the Upper Clark Fork River, and research on traditional practices of the Blackfeet in the Badger-Two Medicine area, have kept my attention on human adaptations to these mountains during different climatic episodes. As founder of the Regional Learning Project (2001-10), I set up a program with a focus on regional history, geography and culture that allowed me to further explore traditional ecological knowledge throughout the region. During these years I interviewed over 200 elders of 37 tribes and used the results to produce three documentaries and several classroom DVDs, in addition to three websites. I've been to archives in North America and Europe to review maps and read whatever I could find on the tribes of the region during the 19th century, especially the records of the fur trade and the Jesuits. In 2009-10, I worked collaboratively with traditionalists from the Kootenai and Blackfeet tribes on a book about their traditional seasonal rounds through the Crown of the Continent, focused on Glacier National Park, due out in 2012 (People Before the Park). My current work as Acting Curator of Collections for the Anthropology Department is focused on repatriating human remains and sacred objects to tribes as part of NAGPRA.

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