About Us

Meet The

Research Team


In the spring of 2020, the global pandemic highlighted the urgent need to hold a conversation about the history and current status of membership and belonging in our state. The Smithfield outbreak in Sioux Falls and the debates around the Tribal Nation checkpoints demonstrated the difficulty in defining an American citizen and the life and death stakes of that definition. Through a series of discussions, Drs. Bassett, Flynn, and Garst-Santos noted parallels in their individual research and outreach projects on identity, community, and belonging in South Dakota and decided to work together on an interdisciplinary project. 

This website is a way to share and continue our work.  

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Dr. Sharity Bassett

Assistant Professor

Dr. Sharity Bassett is an Assistant Professor and Co-Coordinator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at South Dakota State University. She has been involved in collaborative research with Haudenosaunee communities in New York state, Ontario, and Montreal since 2011. Prior to that, she worked with urban American Indian communities in Denver, CO, as an activist and ally. Currently, her manuscript, Haudenosaunee Women Lacrosse Players: Making Meaning through Rematriation, is under advanced contract with Michigan State Press. Since coming to SDSU the Fall of 2017 as a Dissertation Fellow, she has established important working relationships with community members and Elders from the Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux, and Sisseton Wahpeton Nations. In her time at SDSU, Dr. Bassett has developed strong ties with Indigenous partners at the Oglala Sioux, Rosebud, and Standing Rock reservations. Dr. Bassett contributes sound Indigenous research and discussion methodologies as well as experience with ArcGIS story-mapping and oral history.

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Dr. Nicole Flynn

Assistant Professor

Dr. Nicole Flynn is Associate Professor of English at South Dakota State University. She specializes in twentieth century British Literature, interwar studies, and theatre. Her publications include work on novels by Jean Rhys, contemporary fiction by A.S. Byatt, interwar theatre and culture, as well as scholarship of teaching and learning. What unites her work is a dedication to social equity and active citizenship. She is the founder of Writing Connections, a consulting firm that provides a range of writing-related services from one-on-one coaching and group workshops, to freelance writing and editing for individuals, industry, and non-profit organizations.


Dr. Christi Garst-Santos

Associate Professor

Dr. Christi Garst-Santos is an Associate Professor of Spanish, Director of the School of American & Global Studies, and Director of the Public Humanities Initiative (PHI) at South Dakota State University. For roughly the past decade, she has worked with the state’s newcomer neighbors and Indigenous communities through a series of outreach projects including ESL classes, legal advocacy and support, translation projects, workforce development, Lakota language revitalization, and diversity and intercultural competence workshops. A Cervantes specialist by training, her teaching and research explore how literature negotiates questions of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion in relation to national identities. Convinced that the humanities can address the current “state of emergency” in which we live, her recent work has shifted to public-facing humanities projects and the development of the SDSU PHI, whose research and outreach connects the University and local communities.

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