Earned a doctorate in African Art History from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London.
Began her career at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1979, pioneering the teaching of indigenous North American art history in Canada.
Has curated exhibitions for and consulted to major museums in Canada and the United States.
Served as director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, where she was also Professor of Anthropology and Art History, 1997-2003.
Returned to Carleton in 2003 as the Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture.
Served as president of CIHA, the international association of art historians, 2004-2008.
Founder of the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures (GRASAC), in 2005.
Is Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture at Carleton University and the author of Seeing Through Translation: Visuality and Cultural Exchange in the Great Lakes, and Museum Pieces: Exhibiting Native Art in Canadian Museums, for which she was recently dominated for the Donner Prize.
Has won many awards and honours including Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007 and a National Gallery of Canada fellowship in 1997.