Dr. Montiel’s research investigates the intersections of Native American art, American history, and art and economics. Her dissertation, “Intertwined Intermediaries: Fundamental Issues in Twentieth-Century Native American Art,” examined the pervasive issues entangled in art created by Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the United States. Namely, the project analyzed the origins and effects of three fundamental issues—Native art employed as an economic development enterprise, the role of the U.S. government in Native arts production and sales, and the influence of museums and other arts institutions in the curation of Native art. Each chapter integrated case studies drawn from twentieth-century Native arts projects, federal programs, and art exhibitions which revealed how these issues often act in concert with one another.
Dr. Montiel’s current research involves 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.