Dr. Alexandra M. Peck is an anthropologist interested in multicultural Indigenous communities, especially as they relate to past and present experiences of intermarriage, adaptation, and cultural change amongst tribal nations in the Pacific Northwest. Her work examines the intersections of art and placemaking in western Washington, where various tribes, settler colonists, tourists, and immigrant populations inhabit the Olympic Peninsula with varying degrees of contestation and co-existence. She seeks to dispel monolithic and romanticized notions of Native America by raising awareness of the plurality of Indigenous perspectives and highlighting stories that are complicated and even seemingly contradictory.
Awarded her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2021, she is currently Visiting Scholar of Indigenous Studies (Mellon Environmental Stewardship, Place, & Community Initiative) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities’ Institute for Advanced Study. Her past work examined the adoption of totem poles both as a pan-Native icon and a symbol of Indigenous resistance to wilderness tropes. Recent publications include: “‘We Didn’t Go Anywhere’: Restoring Jamestown S’Klallam Presence, Combating Settler Colonial Amnesia, & Engaging with Non-Natives in Western Washington” (2021) and “Coast Salish Social Complexity, Community Ties, & Resistance: Using Mortuary Analysis to Identify Changes in Coast Salish Society Before, During, & After the Early Colonial Period” (2020) in Journal of Northwest Anthropology. She is working on an interactive ethnogeography of the Olympic Peninsula that documents changes to significant Native sites by employing archaeological, ethnographic, archival, and linguistic data.
Her work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund, via the Reed Foundation. She serves as co-editor of Archaeology in Washington and is an amateur mycologist and botanist.