National Parks, Native Sovereignty
Experiments in Collaboration
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
In case studies and interviews focusing on a wide range of National Park Service sites, the authors and editors of this volume—scholars as well as National Park Service staff and tribal historic preservation officers—explore pathways for collaboration that uphold tribal sovereignty. These efforts serve to better educate the general public about Native peoples; consider new ways of understanding and interpreting the peoples (Native and non-Native) connected to national park lands; and recognize alternative ways of knowing and using park lands based on Native peoples’ expertise.
National Parks, Native Sovereignty emphasizes emotional commitment, mutual respect, and patience, rather than focusing on “land-back” solutions, in the cocreation of a socially sensible public lands policy. Ultimately it succeeds in promoting the theme of strategic collaboration, highlighting how Indigenous peoples assert agency and sovereignty in reconnecting with significant landscapes, and how non-Native scholars and park staff can incrementally assist Native partners in this process.
“Uniformly pertinent and well-crafted, this fascinating volume features the work of scholars as well as Indigenous National Park Service personnel and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, many of whom balance agonizing ironies of their employment with empathy and gentle humor. National Parks, Native Sovereignty is a must for all who work to honor the cultural specifics of national parks while enriching the experience of a broad spectrum of visitors.”—James F. Brooks, author of Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat'ovi Massacre
“In these times of climate change, we must embrace new models of conservation. National Parks, Native Sovereignty brings forth deep insights into the challenges and opportunities of a collaborative relationship between our national parks and those who are the traditional stewards. Both want to see these precious resources preserved for future generations and together they will be stronger and more successful.”—Jonathan B. Jarvis, National Park Service director from 2009–2017 and co-author of The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water
“This brilliant collection of essays documents the ongoing struggle of Native communities to gain sovereignty in national parks. It simultaneously wrestles with a difficult, often painful past, while offering hope for a better future.”—Matthew S. Makley, author of The Small Shall Be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Indians