Gerard Baker

Gerard Baker

Park Superintendent


Mount Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore, SD USA


I was told by a nun at Catholic boarding school, 'You know, the best thing you can do with your life is to get a good job pumping gas in a gas station and stay with it.' The highlight of my life was going back to that same school as the graduation speaker and telling the audience, 'I'm not working at the gas station.'

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Gerard Baker

Highlight
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Gerard Baker HighlightInterview Highlight
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InterviewThe Interview
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PrejudiceWeb Exclusive
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I Like ChallengesWeb Exclusive
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Park ServicesWeb Exclusive
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Overcoming StrugglesWeb Exclusive
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Survival CampsWeb Exclusive
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Four GoalsWeb Exclusive
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Arguing With ArchaeologistsWeb Exclusive
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Not A WarriorInterview Excerpt
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Park SuperintendentInterview Excerpt
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Starting At The BottomInterview Excerpt
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00:18
Understand Cultural ResourcesInterview Excerpt
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01:51
Making A DifferenceInterview Excerpt
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Nobody Can Beat YouInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life has been direct.
Grew up on a reservation; his father was a rancher so his goal for most of his life was to follow the same path.
Got into college on a basketball scholarship but spent too much time partying, flunked out; was married with kids at a very young age.
His father and grandfather told him "You're not a warrior...you can't even beat a pile of books," this fired him up.
Remembered how much he loved his visit to a National Park, realized he wanted to work in the Park Service, took a park job cleaning toilets.
Worked his way up, applied to a job at Little Bighorn Battlefield; had to try four times then finally got the job.
The park only celebrated General Custer, who'd actually lost the battle; Gerard insisted that they bring Native American history into the story.
By the time he left, he'd had seven confirmed death threats and a petition for removal; people didn't know how to deal with the change.
He stayed stubborn, fought for his culture; was offered a job at Mount Rushmore, became the first American Indian to hold superintendent position.
Keep following my journey
Career

Career

Park Superintendent

As Superintendent of Mount Rushmore I help bring an Indian perspective into the park's interpretive program.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Environment & Nature
Politics
Politics
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Hurdles

Hurdles

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

We didn't have any money, we never had a car.

Other
Other

I was told by this nun 'the best thing you can do with your life is get a good job pumping gas.'