The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology


Holistic Community Development and Participatory Connections on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Kathleen Pickering Sherman, Andrea Akers, Ashley Cobb, Heather Lausch, Michael Brydge, Patrick Dorion, and Mark St. Pierre

This article argues that when applied anthropology is conducted as genuinely participatory, community-based research, it is not just a method but a theory that challenges the epistemological paradigm of traditional research. Five community-based projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota are discussed, including: 1) a tourism initiative of the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce with regional National Park Service interpretive staff; 2) the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority‘s efforts to create the first Tribal National Park out of the South Unit of Badlands National Park; 3) The Lakota Funds‘ new Child Development Accounts and the financial literacy curriculum designed for kindergarten through eighth grade; 4) the Wounded Knee Community Develop-ment Corporation‘s summer youth construction project; and 5) First Peoples Fund‘s research on the opportunities and constraints for Native artists on the Northern Plains. Colorado State University graduate students and a Pine Ridge community development practitioner critically assess the participatory processes they practiced and the outcomes that could not have been accomplished without integrating the theory and methods of participatory, community-based research.

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 2, Vol. 32, 2012, pp 27 - 36

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