Gerard's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Central Route

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Mt. Rushmore, SD

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 2

  • ON DVD:

    Roadtrip Nation: Season 2

GERARD BAKER

Park Superintendent
Mount Rushmore

“Nobody can beat you if you don't let them.”

INTERESTS:

Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Culture Determination Education Failure Hard Work Negativity Pressure Struggle Passion Family

TAGS:

American Indian, basketball, catholic school, challenge, cleaning toilets, educating, grunt work, ignorance, intelligence, marriage, minority, natural environment, partying, picked up trash, preservation, proving yourself, pumping gas, reservation, respect, stubborn

BIOGRAPHY:

Gerard Baker grew up on a reservation where his dad was a rancher and all he knew was ranching. So Gerard thought he wanted to be a rancher. He didn't know anything else. Although his house was 30 miles from the nearest national park, he didn't know anything about it or about any possible paths in parks services. He went to college in Bismarck, N.D., and flunked out. Disappointed, his family told him he wasn't a warrior and he couldn't beat a pile of books. He looked at what he was going to do and the parks services seemed something he would be interested in. Gerard began cleaning toilets at a local campground and registering campers. By the time he got through that first summer, he realized that's the area he wanted to be in for the rest of his life. Gerard began his career in the park services and the bottom rung— cleaning restrooms and picking up trash on the campgrounds. But his perseverance led him to work his way up to superintendent of Mount Rushmore where he also became the first American Indian to be superintendent of the national monument.

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