Skip navigation

Center for Professional Development

ace header 2

Ethical Stewardship of Native American Collections

Postgraduate Curatorial Training Program

In partnership with The Center for Art Collection Ethics (ACE) at the University of Denver, The Center for Professional Development is pleased to offer a postgraduate, Non-Credit Certificate in Ethical Stewardship of Native American Collections.

Grounded in Native perspectives and expertise, the program focuses on cultural protocol, tribal consultation, and object studies, with an emphasis on case studies of the historic tribes of Colorado—the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapaho. The program includes discussion of the 1990 United States Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), but goes beyond training in legal requirements to address a broader range of ethical issues in collections care.

With concerns about the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the University of Denver is actively monitoring developments and will continue to follow the guidance of public health agencies. At this time, we expect University operations to operate normally during our program, and continue to accept applications. For updates, please visit DU's COVID-19 website.

About the Program

Through the week-long certificate program, participants will:
  • Learn directly from tribal members about their history and the meaning of ancestral items now in museum collections.
  • Appreciate the spiritual dimension of Native items.
  • Gain an understanding of cultural protocol and differences among tribes.
  • Develop skills to carry out consultations with tribes.
  • Utilize a variety of resources in carrying out research: object studies, archival materials, secondary resources.
  • Work in small groups to complete a research project on Native items and present their findings in a symposium.
Sessions and speakers include:
  • Object studies and archival research using collections at the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS).
  • Tour of the exhibition "Written on the Land" at the History Colorado museum, created in close partnership with Ute tribes.
  • On-campus research sessions facilitated by DU staff in the Museum of Anthropology and faculty in the Departments of Anthropology and History.
  • Dakota Hoska (Oglála Lakȟóta), Assistant Curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum, and Melanie Yazzie (Diné), artist and Professor of printmaking at the University of Colorado-Boulder, on stewardship of Native contemporary art.
  • Steve Nash, Senior Curator of Archeology and Director of Anthropology at DMNS.
  • Joseph Aguilar (San Ildefonso Pueblo), San Ildefonso Pueblo Tribal Historic Preservation Office, on the ethics of indigenous archeology.
  • Keynote address by Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo/Hopi/Tewa/Navajo), Assistant Director for Collections at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Applicant Information


We welcome applications from graduate students and emerging professionals with various backgrounds, including art history, museum studies, anthropology, cultural studies, history, religious studies, and library and information science. We encourage participation from under-represented communities, as well as staff at academic museums and galleries, who are likely to share their knowledge with students.

A Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience is required. Applicants are welcome to explain equivalent experience in the application essay.

Participants will be selected based on their potential to have a meaningful impact on their communities and cultural institutions. In order to maximize contact with speakers and facilitators, we will limit acceptance to twenty (20) applicants.

Key Dates
Application Due      Rolling applications accepted through May 1, 2020
Decision Notifications      April 1-15, 2020 if application submitted by March 15, 2020
     On a rolling basis after March 15, 2020
Fees Due      Two weeks from acceptance notification
Program Dates      June 21-26, 2020 (dorm check-out June 27)
Program fee (includes all sessions, field trips, three on-campus lunches, welcome dinner, and final banquet)      $700


Lodging (apartment-style dormitory with single bedroom and full kitchen; $65/night for 6 nights)


     $390 (optional)

Meal plan (for on-campus meals not covered in program: six breakfasts and four dinners at upscale cafeteria
with vegetarian and gluten-free options, a 5 to 10-minute walk from dorm)

     $99 (optional)


Participants may decline campus housing and the meal plan, and will be responsible for covering travel expenses to and from the University of Denver as well as two lunches during museum trips in downtown Denver. Transportation for the museum trips is covered in the program fee. 

Application Submission

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 1, 2020

Please submit in a single pdf:

  • Application form
  • Essay
  • A short curriculum vitae (1-2 pages)
  • College and University transcripts

The recommendation form and letter , from a professor or supervisor able to comment on your potential for outstanding work in museums or other cultural and educational institutions, should be sent by email to  Applicants should complete the top portion of this form prior to to sharing it with their letter author. 

Applicants will receive emailed admissions decisions by April 15, 2020. Program registration and all fees are due within two weeks of notification to secure enrollment.

Certificate of Completion

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a digital certificate of completion from the University of Denver. 

Instructional Team

University of Denver planning group and facilitators:

  • Anne Amati, University of Denver Museum of Anthropology (DUMA) Registrar and NAGPRA Coordinator
  • Elizabeth Campbell, Associate Professor of History and Director of ACE
  • Sarah Carlson, DUMA Curator of Collections
  • Kelly Fayard (Poarch Band of Creek Indians), Assistant Professor of Anthropology
  • Christina Kreps, DUMA Director, Professor and Chair of Anthropology
  • Angela Parker (Mandan, Hidatsa, Cree), Assistant Professor of History

Program Advisor:

  • Viki Eagle (Sicangu Lakota), PhD candidate in Anthropology at UCLA, and former DU Director of Native Community Relations and Programs

For more information or with questions regarding the application process, please contact


Header Image Credit
Pitcher, Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico, c. 1890.
Photo courtesy of the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology, used with permission of the Pueblo of Acoma Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

Cultivate new skills and advance your career with market-relevant courses designed for teachers, clinicians, business leaders, and non-profit professionals.


Contact Us

  • Center for Professional Development
    2211 S. Josephine Street, #302
    Denver, CO 80208
  • Phone: 303-871-4161
  • Email:

Connect With Us


  • CPD is accredited by multiple entities including: The Higher Learning Commission - North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The National Association of Social Workers, and more. Learn More