🔗NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow: Exploring Indigenous Artistic Responses to Black Hills and Destination Tourism
American Conservation Experience
Each NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow will complete work in four areas. Fellows will (1) perform project-based research; (2) share research results; (3) produce and substantially contribute to interpretive and educational products; and (4) pursue career-focused work.
Project-Based Research: There is bountiful scholarship on Indigenous connections, histories, and continuing significance of the Black Hills of South Dakota to Indigenous peoples. There has, however, been little in-depth work done around the topic of Indigenous tourism from the vantage point of Indigenous artists, culture bearers, and organizations dedicated to sharing Indigenous culture through tourism. During year one, the Fellow will conduct original research on the topic, including meeting with external and internal institutional partners within the tourism industry of South Dakota. A critical piece of this research will be working with Indigenous partners who provide a variety of tourism services and cater largely to a non-Native audience. These relationships will shape and inform the direction for research in year two, wherein the Fellow will consult with the mentorship team, as well as other subject matter experts as needed, to propose a project for their second year. Additional research opportunities exist through access to the park museum collection, local museums and historical centers, ethnobotany herbariums, and community elders.
Sharing Research Results: The research conducted by the Fellow involves collaboration with numerous teams, individuals, and organizations. The Fellow will join park staff in attending South Dakota 250th Committee meetings, tourism meetings with Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association, regular events hosted by the South Dakota Department of Tourism (including the annual Tourism Conference in Pierre, South Dakota), and regular interaction with projects and campaigns initiated by the South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance. Research results will be compiled into a summary of findings that will be added to the park archives, staff library, and incorporated into training for frontline staff.
These partnerships will provide the Fellow with necessary subject-matter expertise on the organizations, individuals, and initiatives that inform and shape tourism to the Black Hills. The Fellow will be invited to present research at the Public Lands Alliance Conference, the South Dakota Tourism Conference, and the National Association for Interpretation Conference. The Fellow will also share research results with local National Park Service units through webinars, presentations, and written resources.
The Fellow will be expected to develop and sustain connections with program-provided mentors and host staff, associated NPS staff, members of their Fellowship cohort, and other Fellows across the tenure of the program. In addition to being provided mentorship and support themselves, the Fellow will have the opportunity to mentor others and to enrich staff knowledge by organizing events such as virtual speaker series and presentations. Twice a year, the Fellow will participate with their cohort and other Fellows in a virtual conference for NPS staff and partners to provide updates about their research. The Fellow will be responsible for tracking and reporting accomplishments and for supplying copies of interpretive, educational, and research products to their host and to the National Coordinator.
Interpretive and Educational Products: To ensure that the Fellow is able to impact interpretive programming and products throughout this project, an interdisciplinary team will be formed comprising managerial and frontline leadership of the Interpretation & Education Program. This team will meet regularly to discuss strategies for incorporating the Fellow’s research into interpretive programming, digital interpretive products, and promotional material. Some potential products are:
- Content on NPS.gov and Social Media;
- Interpretive Training Modules;
- Lesson Plans;
- Exhibit design, including pop-up exhibits within the park;
- Developing interpretive programming.
Career-focused Research and Products: In consultation with their mentors, the Fellow will carry out a career-centered project. About 20 percent of the Fellowship will be dedicated to this scholarly work that advances the Fellow’s career path. The Fellow will be supported by a multidisciplinary team that draws on local, regional, and agency-wide expertise. In addition to NPS staff, the Fellow will also have an external mentor whose work addresses Indigenous histories of the region.
Essential Responsibilities and Tasks:
- Conduct original research into the history of tourism in the Black Hills and its impacts on Indigenous culture. Special attention and focus should be paid to the way that Indigenous artists and organizations found ways to benefit and participate in this economy and the way this involvement evolved through to present day.
- Create annotated bibliography and summary report of resources on Indigenous tourism, with a special focus on destination tourism to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
- Partner with Interpretation & Education lead interpreters to develop interpretive products and training modules for incorporation into seasonal training.
- Assist park staff in expanding culture bearer programming, including recommendations for effective signage and strategic communications.
- Present research at significant partner events, tourism conferences, and regional NPS meetings.
- Attending university-level lectures and presenting as a guest lecturer to a university-level audience.
- Working with Indigenous community members living on and off reservations (rural and urban).
- Conducting one-on-one interviews and oral histories.