Pronouns: they/them or she/hers. Also published under the name, "Lee Bloch."
I am a trained as both an ethnographer and archaeologist specializing in community-based participatory research methods (CBPR). CBPR develops collaborative partnerships between community and university actors that empower Indigenous, black, and brown peoples' perspectives and center their leadership and expertise. I also consult for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion firms iChange Collaborative and Both And Partners to build social justice curricula and trainings for schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. My academic background spans the fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and the environmental humanities. The main focus of my research integrates these approaches to investigate ancestral Native American landscapes from the perspective of living descendants' ways of knowing and being in place.
Since 2010, I have worked in partnership with members of a Native American community in the US South who claim Muskogee (Creek) identity to study earthwork "mound" landscapes built since circa 3500 BCE . This project envisions a new kind of archaeological theory and practice that departs that emerges from community members' oral traditions, environmental knowledge systems, and visceral experiences of ancestral places as an alternative to Eurocentric intellectual geneologies. This is what I call "sweetgum archaeology:" A practice of caring for landscapes wounded by colonial violence and cultivating specifically Indigenous futures with ancestors. You can learn more about my research here.
As an educator, I have taught at the University of Virginia, Brandeis University, and Agnes Scott College. I built the first circular programing in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at Brandeis. My students have gone on to assume leadership roles organizing their peers to expand NAIS at Brandeis – and won multiple awards for their work in this area. They have developed insightful and creative projects on contemporary issues and local Indigenous landscapes that take the form of traditional essays, blog posts, paintings, zines, documentary films, and museum exhibitions in which students experiment with how different media can be used to reach diverse audiences. You can find students' describing the transformative impacts of my teaching in their own words here and examples of their creative projects here.