2023 Cohort of Native American Undergraduate Museum Fellowship Announced

For immediate release
Release dated: June 15, 2023
MNHS media contacts: Allison Ortiz, 651-259-3051, allison.ortiz@mnhs.org or Jack Bernstein, 651-259-3058, jack.bernstein@mnhs.org

Groundbreaking program exposes undergrads to professional opportunities in the museum field 

ST. PAUL, Minn (June 15, 2023) – Six students representing a variety of communities and colleges make up the 2023 cohort of the Native American Undergraduate Museum Fellowship (NAUMF) by the Native American Initiatives Department at the Minnesota Historical Society.

NAUMF is designed to expose students to careers in the museum field through a ten-week program including three weeks of workshops and seminars, followed by seven weeks of immersive paid internship opportunities. Since launching in 2011, NAUMF has welcomed 92 fellows from around the country, representing 53 tribal nations. Program alumni have accepted jobs in related fields, including Tribal historic preservation officers, language revitalization coordinators, national museum/MNHS staff members, museum curators, art gallery directors, and many more.

Introducing the 2023 cohort:

Eileen Bass is an enrolled member of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma, with ties to Standing Rock and Muscogee Nation communities. As a student at the University of Minnesota, Eileen is pursuing a double major in Anthropology and English with a minor in Creative Writing.

Eileen Bass.

Taylor Fairbanks is from the White Earth and Ho-Chunk Nations. She is a student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, majoring in Sociology and American Indian studies while learning Ojibwe language.

Taylor Fairbanks.

Jose Garcia is a member of the Lower Sioux and White Earth communities and is a student at St. Paul College. Jose and his brother started the Indigenous youth-run nonprofit called Isaac’s Blessing Bags and deliver bags to un-sheltered relatives in the Twin Cities.

Jose Garcia.

Raymond George Growingthunder is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes and a student at the Institute of American Indian Art. George creates aluminum, titanium, steel, brass, copper, and acrylic works for exhibition and installation design. 

Raymond George Growingthunder.

Jim Kunesh is of Standing Rock Lakota descent and is an anthropologist, archaeologist, and cultural resource management specialist. Jim earned a BA in Anthropology from St. Cloud State University and is currently studying Geology and Human Services at the University of Minnesota - Morris.

Jim Kunesh.

Gavin Zempel is also named Wambdi Waste or Good Eagle. He is Bdewakantunwan Dakota and a member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community. Gavin is a student at the University of Minnesota - Morris, studying in Native American Studies and Psychology, along with a minor in English. His research includes Indigenous language revitalization.

Gavin Zempel.

The ten-week MNHS Native American Undergraduate Museum Fellowship program is made possible by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs, and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories, and connects people with history.