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National Park Service Expands Co-Stewardship with Indigenous Peoples

On September 13, the director of the National Park Service (NPS) announced that the agency had issued new guidelines aimed at strengthening the role of Native American and Alaska Native tribes, Alaska Native entities and the Native Hawaiian community in federal government decision-making processes. lands.

“All national parks are located on traditional Indigenous lands and this policy will help ensure that tribal governments have an equal voice in the planning and management of these,” NPS Director Chuck Sams said in a statement. Press release.

The NPS announcement coincides with the Interior Department’s announcement that the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management will have similar co-stewardship policies. According to the NPS, co-stewardship “is a broad term that includes formal co-management (through legal authorities), collaborative and cooperative management (often accomplished through agreements), and self-management agreements. governance (including annual funding agreements).”

There are currently 80 co-stewardship agreements with the NPS, and with the new guidelines, the agency is committed to expanding existing agreements and increasing the number in total. This is one of the many ways the NPS strives to develop its relationships with Indigenous communities.

“Through increased and collaborative engagement with Tribes, Alaska Native Entities and the Native Hawaiian community, we will make better land management decisions, recognize and hopefully heal some deep wounds, benefit traditional ecological knowledge and better interpret the history of the lands we administer and all the plants and animals that live there,” said Sams.

You can view a Native Map of North America at Native-Land.ca. The website houses maps, territorial acknowledgments, treaties, histories and other resources related to many indigenous groups around the world.