By Andrea J. Cook
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis announced Monday that he has named Baker as his assistant director for American Indian Relations.
“The National Park Service faces important cultural and natural resource issues with First Americans,” Jarvis said. “I’ve asked Gerard to represent me and the National Park Service with tribes across our country to work on issues I believe will further the goals of the National Park Service and goals of First Americans.”
A Mandan-Hidatsa from western North Dakota, Baker was the first Native American appointed superintendent of Mount Rushmore. He has been a park superintendent for 15 of his 30-plus years in the Park Service. He was assigned to Mount Rushmore in 2004 after serving as the first superintendent of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
“This is really a natural next step in my career, and it’s what I’ve been doing all my life: learning about people, our history and culture, talking to others and sharing stories and learning to appreciate other perspectives. It’s an opportunity we in the National Park Service can’t miss,” Baker said.