Paul Chaat Smith

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Paul Chaat Smith
Gmcmaster pcsmith jsanchez.jpg
Gerald McMaster (left), Paul Chaat Smith (center), and Joseph Sanchez (right) in a panel discussion
Occupation Author, curator
Language English
Nationality American (Comanche Nation)
Ethnicity Comanche
Genre Native American studies

Paul Chaat Smith is a noted Comanche author and an associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian.[1][2] He writes and lectures frequently on American Indian art and politics.[3]


Curatorial practice[edit]

Smith has been an associate curator for the National Museum of the American Indian since 2001. In 2004, he was responsible for setting up the museum's permanent history gallery.[4]

In 2005, he worked with fellow curator Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk) to sponsor and produce an exhibition by performance and installation artist James Luna at the 51st Venice Biennale, which included a performance dedicated to Pablo Tac.[5]

In 2008 and 2009, he organized a major retrospective for Fritz Scholder called Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian.[1]

In 2009 and 2010, Smith produced a show for Canadian artist Brian Jungen, called Strange Comfort.[6]

Smith has worked to promote the work of many other Native American and Aboriginal Canadian artists, including Richard Ray Whitman, Faye HeavyShield, and Kent Monkman.[7]


Smith is the author, with Robert Allen Warrior, of Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. This account of American Indian activism "has already become a classic and essential interpretive work".[8] The book focuses on three pivotal events in Native American activism, the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz, the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and subsequent BIA building takeover, and the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation.[9]

His humorous but informative book, Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, took 16 years to compile.[1]

Other work[edit]

Smith has lectured at such institutions as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.[10] He served as an academic advisor for the PBS series, We Shall Remain, Episode 5: Wounded Knee.[11]



  1. ^ a b c Berry, Carol. "Paul Chaat Smith and His Pal Irony Offer a Dose of Indian Reality." Indian Country Today. 12 Dec 2011. Accessed 26 Feb 2014.
  2. ^ National Museum of the American Indian website:  "Curator Biographies"
  3. ^ Banff Centre bio
  4. ^ Lonetree, Amy and Amanda Cobb. The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8032-1111-7, p. 454
  5. ^ "James Luna's "Emendatio" Opens in New York." Art Daily. 7 Jan 2008. Accessed 27 Feb 2014.
  6. ^ National Museum of the American Indian website: "Jungen Show Credits"
  7. ^ Benson, Al. "Comanche author, essayist, curator to speak at Aurora U. Nov. 4." TribLocal Aurora. 18 Oct 2010. Accessed 27 Feb 2014.
  8. ^ Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, The Great Sioux Nation (University of Nebraska Press, 1977, p. 13) p. viii
  9. ^ Like a Hurricane. Publisher's Weekly. 1 Aug 1996. Accessed 26 Feb 2014.
  10. ^ "Indigenous Art and Museums." Hemispheric Institute. Accessed 27 Feb 2014.
  11. ^ "We Shall Remain, Episode 5: Wounded Knee." NMPBS. Accessed 26 Feb 2014.

External links[edit]