🔗NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow: Tribal Maritime Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Washington State
American Conservation Experience
The Mellon Fellow placed with the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area (NHA) will focus on collaboration and research with three Seattle-area Tribes to support better public understanding of and appreciation for Indigenous maritime heritage in the region. Working with selected Tribal partners in the region and archival resources, the Fellow will investigate and document existing Tribal maritime heritage resources and their histories and place them into a broader context of cultural heritage tourism in the region. Key products of this work include a public-facing Regional Tribal Guide to Maritime Washington and associated interpretive materials.
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.
1) Project-Based Research: During their first year, the Fellow will become acquainted with selected Tribal partners-building off the Washington Trust’s existing relationships-and work with each Tribe (Tribal staff, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, archivists, and Tribal members) to survey existing resources about their maritime heritage-including papers, books, oral histories, videos, photos, historic sites, maps, traditional place names-and to identify which are appropriate for non-Tribal audiences. They will also interview Tribal members to identify important public-facing maritime sites, interpretive locations, businesses, and other places where people can go to learn about Tribal maritime heritage. At the same time, they will conduct research at non-Tribal archives (the University of Washington, Secretary of State, Seattle branch of the National Archives, etc.) to identify additional existing resources.
While these Tribes already have some public-facing resources about their maritime heritage and culture, there are also stories yet to be shared and/or documented from both past and present, including the histories of cultural heritage resources in the area. Based on their work from year one, and in consultation with their mentorship team and other subject matter experts as needed, the Fellow will propose and shape their project in their second year. This will include working in partnership with Tribes to identify possible gaps in the record. Where gaps can be addressed, the Fellow will conduct original research in conjunction with participating Tribes to uncover, document, and share additional stories and resources. This may include projects such as: researching and compiling maps of traditional place names (for Tribes that do not have this information already documented); researching and writing profiles on historical maritime figures (for example, activists involved in the Fish Wars of the 1960s); and new research and profiles on modern-day Tribal members who work on the water (such as Tribal fishermen, shellfish farmers, scientists, treaty rights offices, members of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, or canoe carvers). This original research will complement the catalogue of Tribal resources developed in the first year, providing context and additional content to enrich the Regional Tribal Guide. These new products may also benefit Tribal archives by creating new materials for their records.
2) Sharing Research Results: The Fellow will produce an inventory/annotated bibliography of Tribal maritime resources in the region that are appropriate to share with non-Tribal audiences, as well as relevant resources identified in external research repositories. This information will be shared with Maritime Washington, Tribal partners, and others as appropriate. In consultation with the mentorship team, the Fellow will disseminate their research in other forms, which might include in-person workshops, digital publications, conference participation, or other interpretive media. The Fellow will also prepare and present in-person and/or virtual “work in progress” talks for appropriate audiences, where they will share their disciplinary perspective, research process, and preliminary findings and insights. More formal presentation(s) of their work will also be offered in-person and virtually to broader NPS, community, and public audiences, as appropriate. Other means of sharing their research results may be developed in consultation with their mentor team, Tribal partners, and community members.
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.
3) Interpretive and Educational Products: The main interpretive product for this fellowship a Regional Tribal Guide for Maritime Washington. Created in conjunction with Tribal and other partners, the Regional Tribal Guide will present a synthesis of research assets and findings, including introductory and/or supplementary content that contextualizes these resources (including both Tribal sources and the Fellow’s own original research). The Fellow will work with their mentorship team to develop an interactive Guide for the Maritime Washington website that incorporates not only text and photographs, but also maps, oral histories, video clips, and other resources. Public-facing information associated with the Guide will also be added to NPS.gov in the form of StoryMaps, articles, and/or other digital media. The Fellow will work closely with Tribal partners to ensure that the Regional Tribal Guide does not include information that is inappropriate for non-Tribal audiences, and that stories/resources are shared in culturally sensitive formats.
Working with participating Tribal members and their mentorship team, additional interpretive and educational products may be planned and/or developed based on the Regional Tribal Guide and the Fellow’s own research interests. These can include social media, additional web-based content or print media, a podcast, videos, lecture series or other public events (in-person and/or virtual), audio tour, signage, training sessions for regional organizations, brochures, and maps.
4) 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 and Maritime Washington NHA staff, the Fellow will have an external mentor whose work is well aligned with this Fellowship.
Essential Responsibilities and Tasks:
- Work with Tribal partners and mentors to survey the current landscape of research materials and assets related to Tribal maritime history, identify gaps and/or untold stories, develop a regional context, and identify what content is appropriate for interpretation to non-Tribal audiences.
- Conduct original research (including archival research, oral history collection, interviews) to complement existing materials and fill in any gaps.
- Prepare a summary of regional Tribal maritime history resources (catalog/annotated bibliography) to share with Maritime Washington, Tribal partners, and others as appropriate.
- Develop and present in-person and/or virtual presentations for Maritime Washington, Tribal and other community partners, NPS, and others as appropriate to share research processes, products, and interpretive guidance.
- Produce a public facing online Regional Tribal Guide for the Maritime Washington website, as well as content for NPS.gov.
- Develop and produce additional interpretive and educational products and programs to creatively engage the public with Regional Tribal Guide and associated content (including social media, podcasts, signage, events, and content for NPS.gov).
- Maintain a respectful, collaborative relationship with all Tribal partners and project stakeholders throughout.