MarkDavidSpence.com is a sole proprietorship that encompasses my work outside of academia. Like my academic scholarship, it involves work in environmental history, American Indian history, the history of the American West, and the history of national parks. My first book (Dispossessing the Wilderness) and the articles that preceded it created some controversy within the National Park Service, but it has since been well received and its arguments have influenced the management of several national parks. Among other things, this book reflected my deep commitment to the public application of historical scholarship. The projects I have taken on with the National Park Service since that time have extended this commitment even further, and largely focus on the histories of specific units within the National Park System. My work also involves consultation with universities, public school systems, and non-profit organizations, as well as contributions to documentaries and editorial reviews for various publications.
As is true of many professional historians, much of this work is informed by personal history. In my case, that includes a tangled family history that is rooted in Cree, Algonkin, Oneida, Lenape, and Red River Métis communities who moved from Canada to work with the Hudson's Bay Company in the Pacific Northwest. For the most part those families have remained in the region for seven generations, and several became incorporated into the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and the Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation. While I do not legally or professionally identify with any of these Nations, nor with any Cree First Nations of Canada, my perspectives on the history of North America are necessarily informed by my relations.