Cecily Engelhart grew up in South Dakota, shared between her mother's home in a small college town and her father's home on the Yankton Sioux Reservation. Her experiences as a child with a mixed ethnic background inspired her to investigate how people of various backgrounds define themselves. While completing her BA from the University of South Dakota, she became increasingly interested in the role that food plays in culture and identity, leading her undergraduate work to focus on how food acts as an integral component of establishing sovereignty in among Native nations. Her work in food studies continued thanks in large part to Rotary International, when she studied in New Zealand as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. While in New Zealand she investigated the complexities of Māori food and water rights, completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Māori Studies from the University of Auckland. Now in her second year of the SocDoc MA program at UCSC, Cecily's thesis work focuses on the intersection between food and colonization as experienced by the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Sioux) on the Northern Plains. Additionally, her work seeks to contradict the chronic portrayal of Native people as stoic figures by using humor as a tool for more accurate representation for Native communities. She is dedicated to creating work that creates more opportunities for dialogue about food issues experienced by both Native and non-Native communities.
Education and Training:
BA in American Indian Studies from the University of South Dakota
PgD in Māori Studies from the University of Auckland