To commemorate Native American Heritage Month and the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS), the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) and the NPS are encouraging travelers to celebrate American Indian culture throughout the country by visiting national parks with special connections to the Native Heritage in their respective locations. Through collaborations between tribes and public lands, tourism can help Indian Country link its historical interpretations to landscape, showcasing that authentic tribal stories and perspectives are intertwined in the fabric of American history.
Some cultural experiences include:
Celebrate 20 years of relationship building and collaboration between the Hoonah Indian Association and Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve at the Huna Tlingit Tribal House (Xunaa Shuka Hit). The Tribal House provides a venue for ceremonies, workshops, camps, and tribal meetings. Through mentoring, apprentice opportunities, and interpretive programming, the Huna Tlingit Tribal House ensures that Huna Tlingit culture, language, and history will be passed on to current and future generations.
At the Desert View Area and Watchtower in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, the expertise and voices of the park’s Inter-tribal Advisory Council and park staff along with support from the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association are launching a new vision and model for interpretation and tribal engagement. Park visitors can now engage with First Voice cultural demonstrators and interpreters while tribal youth can take part in internship and employment opportunities offered by the park. Over time, an inter-tribal heritage center will be developed where visitors can learn more about neighboring tribes and get information for visiting tribal reservations.
The Native American experience of Route 66 is highlighted in a new website and travel guide, created in partnership by AIANTA and NPS. While the guide includes native history and points of interest along the route, it also informs travelers about genuine cultural experiences available today. Compiled with assistance from many tribes along the route, “American Indians and Route 66” gives travelers a more complete picture of the famed journey.
In Acadia National Park in Maine, weekly Cultural Connections presentations spotlight the heritage and history of the park and the region. This year, Hawk Henries, member of the Nipmuck tribe, brings a tribal voice to the series, featuring storytelling and musical performances on his hand-carved eastern woodland flutes.
Story courtesy an NPS press release.