SALAMANCA — The Seneca Iroquois National Museum welcomed Dr. Joe Stahlman as its new director on July 1.
Before coming to the Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center, Stahlman worked as a college professor, yoga/exercise teacher and a project consultant.
Stahlman brings over 20 years of experience to the museum, working as an applied researcher and using his skills to fit community needs. He has coordinated numerous projects with Native communities within the United States and Latin America.
According to Stahlman, applied research is taking all of the academic discussion, literature and research and applying it in localized settings in projects that have value for the community. It’s not doing research because a person has a question they want answered.
“For me, I want my efforts to have a use. A lot of research gets published and no one reads it — not their peers, let alone the regular person,” he said. “Recently, I read that most recent research articles have less than 20 downloads.”
Over the years, Stahlman has worked mostly with Native communities but has also worked with undocumented farmworkers out west. He said he once did an oral history project on a famous academic and her department at Indiana University.
Stahlman earned his Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Indiana University-Bloomington, in 2014, with his dissertation focused on locating a Tuscarora worldview in day-to-day life.
“It’s definitely there. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist or traditional, or someone who stays on the territory or works off the territory every day. It is clearly seen,” he said.
Originally from Niagara Falls, Stahlman has lived in various places across the United States with his wife, Dr. Fileve Palmer, and two children, Aaron and Ana Yulaly, who are now in college.
Although he was not raised on the Tuscarora Nation Reservation, Stahlman returned to Western New York in 2018 to be closer to his family on the Tuscarora.
After winning Tickletown in a newspaper contest, the couple decided to move to the Southern Tier and currently live in Humphrey.
Stahlman said there are several future projects lined up at the museum, but he cannot discuss them at this time.
“My goal as director is to make the museum a regional hotspot. I want the parking lot to stay full,” he said. “However, I also want to make sure the Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center remains accessible for the Seneca to enjoy, share, and take an active role in determining its future.”