Anya received bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of California at Davis. She holds a master’s degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA, where she wrote her thesis on Native American museums and cultural centers. She has worked in the museum field for more than ten years, including seven years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). Anya assisted the curator of contemporary art on the NMAI inaugural contemporary art exhibition, Native Modernism: The Art of George Morrison and Allan Houser, and Continuum: 12 Artists for the museum’s New York location. At Yale, she curated the art exhibition, “All That Remains: Material Remembrances in Love and Loss,” at the Institute of Sacred Music in 2013. Anya has been a writer for the Smithsonian’s American Indian magazine since 2002 where she writes about contemporary Native American life and art. Recently, she wrote an essay on Native expressive culture for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of American Indian History, edited by Frederick E. Hoxie.
Anya’s dissertation investigates the policies and programs of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), a U.S. federal agency created in 1935 to “promote the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market.” Her work seeks to reveal what role has the IACB played in Native art and the effects of government intervention into art.