Rayna Green

Fall 2008 Lehman Brady Professor

Rayna Green is a curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, where she also serves as director of the American Indian Program and as documentary historian for the American Food and Wine History Project. A folklorist with a Ph.D. from Indiana University, she has served on several university faculties (e.g., Dartmouth College) and in public service institutions (e.g., the American Association for the Advancement of Science). She has continued to teach and lecture widely during her years with the Smithsonian.

Green has written or edited four books (The British Museum Encyclopedia of Native North America; Women in American Indian Society; That’s What She Said: Contemporary Fiction and Poetry By Native American Women; Native American Women: A Contextual Bibliography) and published many essays on American Indian representations, American Indian women, American identity, American Indian material culture, and American Indian food and foodways. Several of her short stories and essays on Native women and American identity have been widely reprinted and have served as standard reading for twenty years in courses in women’s studies, American Indian studies, and American studies (e.g., “The Pocahontas Perplex: The Image of American Indian Women in American Culture,” “The Tribe Called Wannabee: Playing Indian in Europe and America,” “Magnolias Grow in Dirt: Southern Women’s Bawdy Humor,” and “High Cotton”). Forthcoming in 2008 is her newest article on foodways, “Mother Corn Meets the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South.”

Green is also known for her curation of museum exhibitions throughout the country and for documentary video and audio production. Appearing both in front of and behind the camera in many documentaries on American identity, she has played a primary role in the production of three documentary short films on Pueblo life and culture—We Are Here: 500 Years of Pueblo Resistance (scriptwriter/artistic director, Ciné Golden Eagle, 1992), Corn Is Who We Are: The Story of Pueblo Indian Food (co-director, Silver Apple, National Educational Film Festival, 1995), and From Ritual to Retail: Pueblos, Tourism, and the Fred Harvey Company (producer/director, 1995)—and in two pioneering audio recordings of Native women’s music: Heartbeat: The Voices of First Nations Women and Heartbeat 2: More Voices of First Nations Women (Smithsonian Folkways, 1995/1998). Her most recent video project, a documentary narrative with Julia Child, is In the Kitchen with Julia, following on her co-curation of the long-running popular exhibition Bon Appétit: Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian.