University anthropologist honored for work at Stewart Indian School

Mar 29, 2016

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson visits in the KUNR studio with anthropology professor Sarah Cowie (center) and university alumna Sherry Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission.
Credit KUNR

In what is believed to be a first, a University of Nevada, Reno professor was recently named one of the 105 Presidential Early Career Award recipients for scientists and engineers by President Barack Obama.

Anthropology professor Sarah Cowie received the honor for her work at the historic Stewart Indian School in Carson City, in collaboration with the Nevada Indian Commission. 

University of Nevada, Reno, President Marc Johnson visited about the award, the importance of  anthropology and the Stewart Indian School project with Dr. Cowie, along with Sherry Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission on KUNR's Beyond the Headlines (air date 3-25-16; interviewed by David Stipech).

More about the University of Nevada, Reno's Department of Anthropology

Comment on this via e-mail to KUNR.

Additional information provided by the University of Nevada, Reno

DR. SARAH COWIE is one of the University’s outstanding young professors and researchers. Her work has been recognized on a national scale on several occasions, including recent news that she had been honored with a Presidential Early Career Award. During her career at the university, professor Cowie has focused on historical archaeology of the American West and Southeast. She has done extensive research in social theory, power relations, structure and agency, landscapes, cultural resources management and decolonizing methods, archaeology of working communities, industrial archaeology and collaborative archaeology. She became interested in anthropology at a young age. After growing up in Mississippi during the 1970s and 1980s, she struggled to understand the conflicts among diverse people. This led her to become interested in interpreting behaviors from the things people left behind and learning how they influence modern interactions.

Her work at the site of Stewart Indian School, a 110-acre historic site of some 50 buildings, has brought welcome resources, research and attention to the site. Stewart, which operated from 1890-1980, has a complicated history and has provided a collaborative backdrop for researchers, preservationists and the local Native American community to learn about indigenous heritage, as well as supplying a model for future indigenous archaeological efforts throughout the country. Archaeologists and their students have used the site as a way to better understand the culture and people who were involved with the school. University students, both native and non-native, are learning about the school and its importance to Nevada’s history and future.

SHERRY RUPERT is the executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. Of Paiute and Washoe descent, she was appointed executive director by Gov. Kenny Guinn in September 2005. She was sworn in by Gov. Brian Sandoval as the first American Indian woman to be appointed a member of his cabinet. She is a graduate of the University, with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration.