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Anthropology | Emily Van Alst

Ph.D., Indiana University
Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Indigenous archeology, rock art, gender, ethics, ontology, community-based research, landscape, traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobotany, Native American art, Northern Plains of the United States

Current Research

I am an Indigenous archaeologist (enrolled member, Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians) focused on Indigenous women’s relationships to rock art in the Northwest Plains. I am broadly interested in reclaiming cultural heritage with, by, and for Indigenous and descendent communities.

I have done community-based archaeological fieldwork in Spain, Peru, and Japan, as well as in the United States, including Alaska, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Indiana.

My current research is focused on Lakota women’s relationship to rock art, and how those images are related to cultural and environmental landscapes, with a particular interest in images related to elk (Cervus canadensis). Taking a diachronic approach, my research connects rock art images created in the past to contemporary landscapes and ceremonies in the present. My work is grounded in methods of Indigenous archaeology and community-based research practices. Additionally, I utilize ethnographic interviews, cultural mapping, ethnobotanical and TEK methods, and photography. I am also passionate about contemporary Native American art (beadwork), activism, and decolonization efforts within anthropology.


Anth 101: Introduction to Anthropology

Selected Publications

2024 Forthcoming (Spring 2024). Van Alst, Emily C. and Carlton Q. Gover. “Indigenizing Archaeology: Applying Theory into Practice” Edited Volume. University of Florida Press.

2023 Van Alst, Emily C. and Pyburn, K. Anne. Ethics and Ethical Codes in The Oxford Handbook of Global Indigenous Archaeologies. Oxford University Press.

Contact information
College Hall 326