Brian Vallo

About the Speaker

Brian Vallo is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe in New Mexico.  With over 30 years’ experience working in historic preservation, repatriation of ancestors and cultural patrimony, language preservation, museum development, tourism, and the arts. Brian has dedicated much of his professional career advocating for and organizing collaborative approaches to addressing issues affecting Native American communities.  Brian was appointed to serve three consecutive terms as Governor of his Pueblo from 2019-2021.  He also served three terms as Lt. Governor and Tribal Secretary in 1992-1994. During his time as Governor, Brian led and participated in national initiatives focused on sacred sites protection, including the Greater Chaco Landscape in New Mexico.  He also fostered advocacy around international repatriation and the development of new federal policy to address the illegal trafficking of cultural patrimony.  Brian, and many tribal leaders worked tirelessly to ensure the passage of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act (STOP Act) which was signed into law by President Biden in December 2022.  Prior to becoming Governor, Brian served as Director of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM where he was instrumental in the development and publication of the Guidelines for Collaboration, a resource for both tribes and museums.  He also forged relationships with museums across the country, creating partnerships and opportunities for tribal communities, Native artists, and Native Museum professionals to advance the movement around creating meaningful change within colonial institutions. Currently, Brian is an independent consultant providing professional services to museums, universities, federal and state agencies, and private collectors in the areas of repatriation, exhibit development, collections stewardship, policy assessment and development.  Brian serves on numerous boards including the National Museum of the American Indian, Chaco Heritage Tribal Association, Conservation Lands Foundation, Native Lands Institute, and the Keystone Policy Center. A self-taught artist, Brian is inspired by historic Pueblo pottery and the cultural landscape of his homeland, Acoma Pueblo.