Co-director Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag) is the Program Director at the Aquinnah Cultural Center and the Cultural Resource Monitor for the Aquinnah Tribal Historical Preservation Office. She is a well-known teacher, museum professional and consultant on Wampanoag history. Her museum experience includes over 30 years of work with Plimoth Plantation, most recently as Director of the Wampanoag Center for Bicultural History from 2008-2010. From 1984-1995 she worked as the Native American Developer at the Boston Children’s Museum where she developed exhibits, kits, curricula, and teacher workshops in addition to training interpreters. She continues to serve as a faculty member for summer institutes on Wampanoag history at the Boston Children Museum’s Teacher Center. Coombs is also a practicing artist, noted for her beadwork, twined bag and sash weaving, traditional deerskin regalia and leatherwork with painted decoration.
Co-director Alice Nash is Associate Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University (1997) where her doctoral research focused on the impact of gender and colonization on Wabanaki families in the Northeast. She has published numerous articles on northeastern Native American history including three in French translation in the leading Quebec journal Recherches amérindiennes au Québec. With Christoph Strobel, she co-authored Daily Life of Native Americans from Post-Columbian through Nineteenth Century America (Greenwood, 2006). She is a co-editor with Josef Raab and Stefan Rinke of Rethinking the Americas: Historical Foundations to 1900, volume 1 of a 5-volume reference work: the Inter-American Key Topics Series Rethinking the Americas, edited by the Center for InterAmerican Studies (CIAS) at Bielefeld University in Germany (Ashgate Publishing, 2017). In 2003-2004 Nash held the first Fulbright-Université de Montréal Distinguished Chair, teaching a course on the Deerfield Raid of 1704 to Canadian students and bringing them to Deerfield for the Tercentenary of the Raid on February 29, 2004. She has worked with K-12 teachers since her arrival at UMass in 1999, most recently as the Director of the July 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers, Native Americans of New England: A Historical Overview, and as co-director with Neal Salisbury of the same program in July 2013.
The Directors share responsibility for the intellectual content of the Institute. Together and separately, depending on the topic, they will give presentations, lead discussions and workshops, and meet separately with the Summer Scholars, as appropriate.