Paul Chaat Smith is a Comanche author, essayist, and curator. His books and exhibitions focus on the contemporary landscape of American Indian politics and culture.
Smith joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2001, where he currently serves as Associate Curator. His projects include the NMAI’s history gallery, performance artist James Luna’s Emendatio at the 2005 Venice Biennial, Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian (2008), and Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort (2009).
With Robert Warrior, he is the author of Like a Hurricane: the Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New Press, 1996), a standard text in Native studies and American history courses. His second book, Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, was published in 2009 by the University of Minnesota Press, and is now in its second printing.
Appointed Critic in Residence three times in galleries in the U.S. and Canada, Smith’s exhibitions and essays have explored the work of Richard Ray Whitman, Baco Ohama, Faye HeavyShield, Shelley Niro, Erica Lord, and Kent Monkman. He has lectured at the National Gallery of Art, Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles. His television appearances include the 1995 Canadian series Markings with Neil Bissondath, and served as creative consultant for the American Experience series We Shall Remain: A Native History of America, broadcast on PBS in April 2009.
Smith lives in Washington, D.C. His middle name is pronounced “chot,” has no hyphen, and rhymes with hot. He has no college or university degrees.