Dr. June Helm
September 13, 1924 - February 5, 2004
June Helm received her Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, Master’s degree in Anthropology, and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. She was a member of the University of Iowa’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, served as chair of the department several times, and later became a professor emerita in the department. From 1964 to 1968, she served as an editor of the American Ethnological Society. In 1969, she successfully helped to create a separate anthropology department at the University of Iowa. Dr. Helm also edited the Subarctic volume of the Smithsonian’s Handbook of North American Indians.
Dr. Helm began her work among the northern Athapaskan peoples during field studies between 1945 and 1957. In 1959, June Helm and Nancy Oestreich Lurie did fieldwork at Lac la Martre with the Dogrib. In 1962, 1967, and 1979, June Helm continued her research among the Dogrib people. In the 1970s, she served as a land-claims researcher and consultant of Native rights for the people in the Mackenzie Valley. Helm wrote several books and articles on the Dogrib and other Dene peoples. She passed on February 5, 2004. Several of the items she collected over the years are included in the Milwaukee Public Museum Dogrib Collection (Lurie, 2004).
Dr. Nancy Oestreich Lurie
January 29, 1924 - May 13, 2017
Nancy Oestreich Lurie is a social anthropologist and curator emerita at MPM. Dr. Lurie earned her Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin Madison, her Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University. In 1947, she began her professional career as an instructor in anthropology for the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. In 1954, she was an expert witness for several petitioners before the U.S. Indian Claims Commission. Dr. Lurie traveled with June Helm to conduct fieldwork among the Dogrib in 1959, 1962, and 1967. From 1967 to 1970, Dr. Lurie served as chair of the Anthropology department at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and was instrumental in the establishment of the school’s PhD program in Anthropology. She was the head of the Anthropology department of the Milwaukee Public Museum from 1972 to 1992, and served as president of the American Anthropological Association from 1983 to 1985. While she has worked among the Dogrib, her main interest was with the Wisconsin Winnebago (Ho-Chunk). She has written numerous books and articles on Anthropology and American Indians (Wisconsin Archaeology 74(1-4) 1993: 3-9).