The Co-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. This is the second time that they are co-directing Teaching Native American Histories (2017, 2019).
Co-director Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag) is a well-known teacher, museum professional and consultant on Wampanoag history. She is a member of the Wampanoag Advisory Board that is planning events and working to ensure that Indigenous issues are foregrounded in upcoming commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower in 2020. Coombs is the Cultural Resource Monitor for the Aquinnah Tribal Historical Preservation Office and a former Program Director at the Aquinnah Cultural Center. 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, Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, teaches Native American and Early American history. 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). Nash is the recipient of the first Fulbright-Université de Montréal Distinguished Chair (2003-2004) and three previous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2013, 2015, 2017). She is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook on the History and Society of the Americas: Inter-American Perspectives (forthcoming, 2018). She currently serves as co-chair of the Education Committee for the Massachusetts State Commission on Plymouth 400.