Listen to the Interview: National Park Service Appoints Gerard Baker Assistant Director of American Indian Relations

For the first time in its history the National Park Service is going to have a full-time assistant director for American Indian Relations. Gerard Baker, a 30-year Park Service veteran who most recently has been superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, will take that role on April 24.

A full-blood Mandan-Hidatsa Indian, Mr. Baker relishes the opportunity to improve relations between the Park Service and Native American tribes. He chatted about his new job Monday evening with Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek.

Listen to the conversation here: http://media.libsyn.com/media/rmnpodcast/nptp-021-2010-04-12.mp3

Comments

An excellent step taken by Director Jarvis, and a great interview for Traveler.

Congratulations to Mr. Baker! This sounds like a tremendous opportunity and a selection that will long benefit the National Park Service...and certainly Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the State of South Dakota! It is great to see that this talent will not be leaving the area, and that Baker will continue to provide leadership and guidance that will benefit organizations locally and across the country, and further educate and inspire people everywhere on American Indian history and culture. Excellent choice, Director Jarvis! Congratulations and best wishes to Assistant Director for American Indian Relations Gerard Baker! Keep up the great work! Aho

This is a great add to the NPS. There aren't too many sites in the NPS that don't have some tie to the original inhabitants of this land. The NPS needs to foster that relationship as it appears they have done with this appointment. I only hope he isn't neutered by the general tendency of government to be ineffective at all it does.

While this is a good move, it should be noted that the NPS has had a Native American liasion position in the Director's office for many years. This is a new title, but the assignment is the same. We should not discount the work done by previous American Indian NPS employees who held that post.