Research Fellows

Detail from a presentation on traditional Lakota societal structure.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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 the acceptance of a new Fellow as needed.

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.

Can I Become a CAIRNS Research Fellow? Yes! We accept inquiries and applications on a revolving basis, so please introduce yourself and your work, and explain how it complements the CAIRNS mission. When you reach out, please consider the following questions: How is your work useful to Native communities in the Northern Plains or elsewhere, or how might you be able to help other CAIRNS Research Fellows become successful in their endeavors? How do you see yourself using CAIRNS resources, including Wingsprings? How might you help CAIRNS and the CAIRNS Research Fellows program grow?

We prefer scholars and projects whose work deals directly with the Native nations whose ancestral lands lay within the bounds of what is now Canada and the United States.

If you are interested in working with CAIRNS on a project, finding a way to make your scholarly and community-based work complement our mission, or simply wish to connect with other members of the CAIRNS community, please contact CAIRNS Research Fellow Eric Zimmer at

Because the Research Fellow program is still new, we are currently defining the program’s parameters and procedures. If you have an idea about how CAIRNS can grow, please let us know!

Research Fellows

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.

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.