. . . and by serving as a meeting ground for peoples and ideas that support these perspectives.
Recognizing that many scholars, artists and others do work that complements our mission, CAIRNS launched its Research Fellows program in the spring of 2015. Its function is straightforward: to cultivate and support a community of people whose writings, projects, artworks and other expressions promote learning by and about American Indian peoples.
Like CAIRNS, the Research Fellows program seeks to support and connect individuals whose work deals directly with the Native nations whose ancestral lands lay within the bounds of what is now Canada and the United States. Given our geographic location, we are especially concerned with work pertaining to the Oceti Sakowin oyates and other American Indian communities in the Northern Plains.
What CAIRNS Research Fellows Do In short, CAIRNS Research Fellows are artists, teachers, scholars, organizers and others who believe in the CAIRNS mission and search for ways to make their work relevant and useful to American Indian and First Nation communities everywhere.
At present, Research Fellows are invited to use the library and facilities at Wingsprings as they research and work in and around Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. They may also participate in any of the many programs, workshops and institutes that CAIRNS sponsors each year. (Logistics for facilities and participating in programming are arranged on a case-by-case basis.)
In coming years, we hope to organize an annual summit for Research Fellows, where as many Fellows as possible can get together and spend a few days socializing, learning, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and helping map out the future of CAIRNS and the Research Fellows program.
The point of the Research Fellows program is to cultivate a community of people of shared interests and intentions. By accepting the title “CAIRNS Research Fellow,” an individual assumes the following responsibilities:
Participate in CAIRNS Activities. This could be defined as collaborating on a project, workshop, or helping out with general planning for a CAIRNS event or activity. Or, you might simply make yourself available to other Research Fellows in search of research assistance; critical feedback on a draft paper, exhibit or presentation; or simply a sharp mind with whom to bounce around a few ideas.
Report on Your Work. Around twice a year, each CAIRNS Research Fellow is asked to write a short (roughly 1,000 word) update about their work, explaining how it contributes to CAIRNS’ mission and/or how CAIRNS is helping them do it. These reports are released regularly and are assigned on a rotating basis. There are no set guidelines on the form or tone of the report: Research Fellows may incorporate music, art, photography and prose as they see fit.
Acknowledge and Promote CAIRNS. In order to help spread the word about the good work CAIRNS and its Research Fellows do, we ask that you help promote it on your website, over social media, or in person. Or, if CAIRNS played a role in the research, writing, revision or production of a publication, exhibit, presentation or other intellectual product, we ask that you acknowledge CAIRNS when and where it is appropriate.
Help Select New Fellows. As the CAIRNS Research Fellows program grows, we will develop a more concrete system for nominating, reviewing and selecting new Fellows. Existing Research Fellows are asked to review application materials and vote on acceptance of a new Fellows as needed.
Current Research Fellows
Ann-erika White Bird [Rosebud Sioux Tribe]
Ann-erika White Bird is a beadwork/quillwork and diverse arts/textiles artist. Her background as a writer is most known through her online news Lakotavoice.com. She maintained a website dedicated to covering the news and tribal politics in the Rosebud Reservation. She earned her bachelors degree in writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007. Ann-erika currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico and returns home to Rosebud several times a year.
Jordan Curnutt [United States]
Jordan Curnutt is from Tucson, Arizona and a graduate of the University of Arizona. He is a professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he teaches courses in philosophy and religion. Jordan’s emphasis in research and instruction includes American Indian Environmental Ethics, Native Spirituality, and the Morality of War. His current project is a manuscript entitled Just and Unjust Indian Wars: A Moral Argument for the Dakota Sioux.
Kara Thompson [United States]
Kara Thompson holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis and currently teaches nonfiction writing at Northern Arizona University. Thompson is the author of Blanket (Bloomsbury, 2018), Settler Contingencies, Indigenous Futures (Duke AP, under contract) and essays in Tin House, Avidly, The Philosophical Salon, and ISLE.
When Research Fellows complete their terms, they transition to Continuing Fellows and are invited to continue participating in CAIRNS projects and activities.
Past Research Fellows
Céline Planchou [France]
Céline Planchou, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Paris 13. Her work deals with the status of American Indian peoples in the United States, with a focus on child welfare. Read her CAIRNS research reports by following these links:
Coffee, Collaboration and CAIRNS: Two French Scholars in Lakota Country
American Indians in French Comic Strips
Claire Thomson [Canada]
Claire Thomson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alberta in the Department of History. She is currently carrying out her dissertation research, which focuses on Lakota people’s connections and movements between her home community of Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan and Lakota reservations in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. Read Her CAIRNS research reports by following these links:
Journeys in Lakota Tamakoče with Research and CAIRNS
Reflections and Developments
David Everson [United States]
David W. Everson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern Maine. Born and raised in South Dakota, his research focuses upon American Indian rights and Native-white relations. Read his CAIRNS research reports by following these links:
Pursuing Decolonization at the University of Southern Maine
The Privilege Narratives of Settler Colonial Discourse in South Dakota
Eric Zimmer [United States]
Eric Zimmer is a professional historian living and working in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of Iowa in 2016, and has been working as a Senior Historian at Vantage Point Historical Services, Inc. in Rapid City ever since.
Micheal Two Bulls [Oglala Sioux Tribe]
Micheal Two Bulls (Oglala Sioux Tribe) is a professional artist living and creating art on Red Shirt Table in the Pine Ridge Reservation. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Art, he specializes in mixed-media works that often build on his passion for printmaking. He also is a founding member of The Wake Singers, a band that prefers to compose and write in studio recording sessions and rarely plays live.
Sandrine Baudry [France]
Sandrine Baudry, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of U.S. Studies at the University of Strasbourg. Her research focuses on conflicts around the uses of urban space. She has published several articles and book chapters on urban gardening in the United States and in France and co-edited, with Aneta Dybska, a special issue of the European Journal of American Studies on “Spatial Justice and the Right to the City: Conflicts around Access to Public Urban Space.” Her current work deals with the political and spatial dynamics of Native American visibility in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Sarah Hernandez [Rosebud Sioux Tribe]
Sarah Hernandez (Sicangu Lakota) is an Assistant Professor of English at South Dakota State University, and also coordinates SDSU’s American Indian Studies program. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2016. She is currently revising her dissertation, “Toward a Dakota Literary Tradition: Examining Dakota Literature Through the Lens of Critical Nationalism,” into a book manuscript that traces the transformation of Dakota literature from an oral to a written form.