Leigh Bloch

BA, New College of Florida, 2011

MA, University of Virginia, 2014

PhD, University of Virginia, 2018


Collaborative and decolonizing methodologies, Indigeneity, space and place, temporality, human-nonhuman relationships, archaeological ethnography, oral histories, museum studies, religion and spirituality, feminist and queer theory

My research centers the study of the past (and present) on Indigenous peoples’ knowledges and ongoing relationships with ancestral mound landscapes, working in partnership with descendant peoples of an eastern Muskogee (Creek) community in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Thousands of these earthen mounds sit across eastern North America, constructed by Native American peoples over the previous five thousand years. Popular history, Interpretive signage and dominant archaeological discourses frame mounds as abandoned sites and places “of the past,” yet these landscapes remain powerful and animate presences for descendent peoples. Muskogee oral traditions describe mounds as places along roads traveled by celestial teachers and human traders, who helped resolve conflicts between warring communities and create peace. These routes and trade networks extend into the present as mounds enroll descendant Muskogee peoples into relations of exchange and care. Yet in these moments, my hosts also become vulnerable to ancestral affects, for example in the form of dreams or desires to accumulate 16th through 19th century commodity goods. As Muskogee people return to ancestral mounds, these places draw my hosts into a nonlinear, Indigenous longue durée: an emergent spacetime of winding, interconnected paths along stories, things, soils, and dreams circulate.