Heather Teague has been working with Maya communities since 1995, when she attended the University of Texas at Austin's Archaeological Field School in Belize. She was on the survey team that located and named the ancient Maya city of Maax Na that year. The following spring she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology, with a focus on archaeology, forensic anthropology, and art history, and a minor in Spanish. After graduation she pursued additional formal studies in studio art, photography, and art history. She expanded her expertise to include contemporary peoples as she pursued her interests through professional positions as a graphic designer and photographer, and an international political and communications consultant focusing on Latin American issues. In 2003 she earned an additional major specialization in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Teague's graduate studies focused on indigenous politics, household economics and international development, post-conflict and reparations politics, and visual anthropology. Since 2004, Teague has been working and conducting ethnographic research with contemporary Q'eqchi' Maya communities in Guatemala. She has four inter-related ongoing projects: one on post-conflict reparations for victims of war crimes; a second on community development and memory; a third on agricultural land use, the environment, and food production; and a fourth on Q'eqchi' uses and understandings of visual images. Her research has been supported by Amnesty International's Patrick Stewart Activist Scholarship, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, and the McIlhany Endowed Presidential Fellowship at UT-Austin, among others.
Teague also maintains her interest and studies of ancient peoples and archeology in studying the artistry and meaning of archaeological sites and following the ways in which contemporary people engage with their collective histories through connections to ancient sites and cultural practices. She works with Q'eqchi' elders and spiritual leaders to understand how they have revived the use of the Maya calendar and maintained the practice of the sacred Maya ceremony through Guatemala's 36-year internal armed conflict and the post-conflict period now underway.
Teague received her Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. She is currently a Visiting Researcher at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT-Austin, where she is completing a book manuscript on Q'eqchi' Maya genocide survivors' experiences with the National Reparations Program of Guatemala. She also serves on the Executive Council of Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change, an indigenous women's organization that is part of the international Indigenous Women's Network. In this capacity she helps administer the organization and organize and carry out activities that support indigenous peoples well-being, traditional practices, and contemporary struggles for social justice.