Susan Berry, Curator, Ethnology
Susan Berry has conducted fieldwork in Alberta, California and New England. Her areas of specialization are North American material culture, Native North America, industrial history, and vernacular architecture. As Curator of Ethnology at the Royal Alberta Museum, she manages a collection of some 15,000 artifacts. Susan received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992.
Ruth McConnell received a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1975. She worked on various archaeological sites in southern Saskatchewan with the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History and in Alberta with the Royal Alberta Museum. Since joining the Museum as Assistant Curator of Ethnology in 1980, Ruth has produced exhibits on such topics as Ukrainian textiles, bone hairpipes and feather headdresses. She has a special interest in hide tanning tools and procedures and has conducted fieldwork on this topic in northern Alberta. Ruth handles day-to-day collections management operations.
Judy Half, Aboriginal Liaison Officer
Judy Half received her B.A. in Anthropology and Native Studies from the University of Alberta in 1994 and her Traditional Governance Certificate in 2008. Before coming to the Museum, Judy worked in the area of traditional land use for ten years with the Fort Nelson Indian Band in northern British Columbia. She had previously worked as an education assistant in the Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture and with the Archaeological Survey of Alberta. Her participation in an archaeological field study at the Bodo site in eastern Alberta sparked her interest in ethno-archaeology and its relationship to her own cultural experiences.
Judy is a member of the Treaty Six Saddle Lake Cree First Nation and a traditional knowledge holder. She participates in many traditional practices, including spirituality, berry picking, harvesting traditional foods and plants, and beading. She was adopted into the pow-wow circle in 1983, having been initiated by several prominent elder dancers from Saskatchewan, southern Alberta and Montana. She is fortunate to have studied with the Blackfoot from southern Alberta and with the Arapaho and Shoshone in central Wyoming and to have lived among the Dene Tha'. She draws on these experiences in developing an ethological perspective and to compare aspects of her own culture to those of neighbouring First Nations.
Alison Parry, former Aboriginal Liaison Officer
Alison Parry has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alberta and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia. She has conducted research on Aboriginal heritage for a number of projects including a documentary film on Treaty 8, school programs, and interpretive manuals for Fort Edmonton Park. Alison worked on repatriation with Alberta First Nations during her tenure at the Museum. Alison left the Museum in 2008 and now works for Alberta Energy.
Patricia McCormack, Research Associate
Dr. Patricia McCormack received her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in 1984. Pat has more than three decades of experience working in Aboriginal communities in both northern and southern Alberta. As former Curator of Ethnology at the Royal Alberta Museum, she curated the exhibits In All Their Finery, Northwind Dreaming, and Aboriginal Cultures of Alberta. Pat's current research projects focus on Blackfoot ranching traditions, women in the fur trade, and contemporary economic development in Aboriginal communities. She is currently Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and a Research Associate with the Museum.