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2016 Ethnographic Field School

This summer, SGC will be operating a field school for 3 weeks on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Ethnographic Field School will provide students with skills and experience in the methodology, protocols, and social relations of conducting field research in American Indian communities. During the field school, students/Interns will work on a variety of work/research-related projects including:

  1. Research and data analysis: Survey creation, data collection, database management, and reporting.

Past research has included art market studies, business development studies, and tourism development surveys.

  1. Impact measurement: Analysis of forms and metrics, database creation, and impact reporting. Impact measurement enables organizations to better understand the impact of their programs and ways to tailor their efforts to best serve their clients.

Interns will be responsible for the following:

  1. Research via surveys (in-person and phone), interviews, and secondary data collection

  2. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis

  3. Report writing

  4. Impact database creation utilizing Salesforce, Impact Tracker, Form Assembly, and other CRM and impact tracking software

  5. Developing training and organizational materials including best practices and standard operating procedures

  6. Data entry and testing

Please note, if you are unfamiliar with some of the above skills, but have a desire to learn, we offer free trainings to cultivate and develop your skills.

In addition to research and analysis, students/interns will have the opportunity to live and work with Lakota community members, as well as attend powwows and other cultural events. This not only gives interns the opportunity to interact and learn from Lakota community members but also allows interns to give back by participating in helpful activities and services. Past field school activities have included:

  1. Cutting wood for sweats and other ceremonies

  2. Cultivating gardens

  3. Building water retention dams for a community water reclamation initiative

  4. Painting, staining, and roof repair of the homes of community members

Those interested in participating in the field school would be offered an internship position with SGC while on the Reservation., Interning with SGC is a good way to learn new skills and prepare for the job force. Although there is no promise of employment, four of our former interns have received paid sub-contracting agreements with SGC and one former intern has received a full-time position. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in school-required internships may also apply to receive academic credit through their university or college. Internships can be a valuable addition to your academic transcripts and resume, as many schools will offer credits for internships or independent research.


  1. As much of SGC’s work is electronic, it is vital that interns have a working laptop with up to date software and internet capabilities.

  2. While tablets and other devices can be brought, most assignments and projects will require a full laptop. Students using alternative software (numbers, pages, etc) must purchase or rent a copy of Microsoft Office.

  3. Work ethic: Interns will put in long hours doing work that is sometimes monotonous or difficult. This work benefits the community and interns will be expected to do their best to serve these communities

  4. Open to unfamiliar/new cultural norms and behaviors.

Field School Logistics

  1. Cost: $2,000 per participant. The cost will cover the following:

  2. Transportation (to and from the Reservations, travel to various programs/initiatives).

  3. Food: SGC will provide food for group breakfast, lunch, and dinners (going out to eat or purchasing other foods will be the reasonability of the participant).

  4. Lodging while on the Reservation (Field school participants will stay with local community members).

For more information, please e-mail me at or fill out the online Field School application at:

Joshua Shaughnessy, Project Manager, Sweet Grass Consulting, LLC

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