Archived Outdoors

New NPS agreement to amp up collaboration with tribal nations

The National Park Service and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association recently finalized a new five-year agreement that aims to facilitate regular, robust and meaningful dialogue between the NPS and Native American tribes. 

“Native American tribes have ancestral connections to public lands that pre-date the formation of the National Park Service by millennia,” said Sherry L. Rupert, CEO of AIANTA. “These wholly unique perspectives can serve as the foundation for one-of-a-kind cultural content for National Park Service sites.”

The agreement will expand opportunities for communication through AIANTA-sponsored virtual and in-person forums between the NPS and Native nations located in national park gateway communities. The resulting collaborations will expand awareness of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian connections along national trails and in national parks nationwide and help connect tribes with technical assistance programs and resources from NPS. 

A recent survey from AIANTA showed that Native nations and communities engaged in tourism at gateway communities to national park sites are interested in working with the NPS. Results showed 90% of respondents wanting to partner or work with the NPS and public lands agencies, with 80% indicating they support visitors to public land attractions — food and lodging topped the list of services, at 71% and 61%, respectively. 

Travelers are increasingly seeking authentic experiences, and the partnership will highlight opportunities for visitors to engage with tribal communities and support Native-owned businesses. More than 71 tribes have been contacted to lend their voice to Tribal Stories Along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, and a similar project to bring Native voices to the forefront of the visitor experience is also underway for the Lewis & Clark National Historical Trail.  

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