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Making National Parks Accessible to Native People Again

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/12/making-national-parks-accessible-native-people-again

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I loved this article. Poignant and well written. Up here in Canada Parks Canada has formed a co-working relationship with our First Nations peoples. Most parks are co-managed by Parks Canada and the First Nations people.

It was not long ago that our First Nations peoples were restricted access to these very parks.

It much better now. I do not think a person can get a full “feel” for the land unless the peoples who inhabited it for thousands of years are present. From a personal perspective I also much prefer the names our First Nations peoples gave to places.

Lake Louise as example was named after a member of British Royalty . The Stoney Nakota first nations had a name that translated to “Lake of the little fishes”. There is little in the way of tradition of the First Nations peoples naming a place after an individual. This likely has something to do with how they see the land. It was never some individuals personal possession.

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None of us should have to pay to walk into a national park. It’s yours. It’s mine. It’s our effin park.

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As long as the native people don’t assert that their original hunter/gatherer/herding activities should be allowed to continue on public lands, of course they should have access to public lands like all of us should have access.
Unfortunately, native people aren’t all noble. Many tribes love to kill animals, and they use the fact that they’ve been doing it for a long time to justify killing animals now, including endangered and threatened species, using motorized vehicles and high-powered semi-automatic weapons.
Other traditional native activities, such as herding animals, also threaten native ecosystems, flora, and fauna.
Humans of all types, including native peoples, are selfish, speciesist, and greedy.
Our public lands are already under assault from industries such as ranching, logging, mining, ORVs, hunting, and fishing.
They don’t need any more attackers and plunderers, native or otherwise.

I think you are a little over the line here, so, you gonna stay away from the National Parks, the forests, and etc? Native Americans do not need, nor deserve, more disparaging sentiments about them, but, at least you mention the corporate assault upon the lands, the parks, the forests, but, don’t beat Indians over the head with your rhetoric.

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Trump is certainly making our National Parks accessible to big polluters and business associates:

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As someone that use to live in Sedona, Arizona I can tell you this is a wonderful article and is spot on! Articles like this one is why I financially support Common Dreams.

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David— how’s your MAGA hat fit? Probly too big for your little pointed head. You sound like a Great White Father deciding what Native People can and can’t do to be fit in the eyes of you, the effing lord. If you ever wonder why decent people so loathe white american males, just look in the mirror.

When you speak of “many tribes”, what tribes are you referring to?

Get a clue. It has nothing to do with MAGA, it has to do with anthropogenic mass extinction and humans killing everything.
Native Americans and many other indigenous people claim the right to continue killing other sentient species, which they claim as a tradition, but they want to use modern technology to do it, and obviously they don’t care about how the other animal feels about being killed.


This is just one of many examples. Look at the picture.

Yes, look at the picture.

I have a good idea why you feel strongly about this, I think you would have to step outside that
context to further understand this. I trust they will sort this out.

You make an awful lot of assumptions about something you clearly don’t know much about.

One time, I was backpacking in the Snowbird Mtns. my buddy and I came across a group of boys also out backpacking being led by a couple adults. They were part of some kind of youth activity. It turned out the boys were Cherokees from Qualla. The boys noticed my hair in braids as I used to wear it back then and my AIM patch on my backpack. They asked me about it. We got to talking about how “our” ancestors used to clamber up and down these same mountains back in the day. Those boys suddenly started standing a couple inches taller, their eyes got big and so did their grins as they thought about the proverbial grandpa running around in the same forests. Just as sudden, they had renewed energy to hike a couple more miles. It was very touching.

Natives should never, ever pay to access public lands, even at special fee areas like West Fork. Natives should never, ever be restricted from accessing public lands, and should always be granted free permits when requested (or require no permit other than their tribal ID). Sedona is definitely overcrowded and commercialized. The whole place should have been purchased and added to the federal public lands inventory, and probably turned into a Wilderness Area or National Park.

That being said, there are a lot of inaccuracies in this article regarding the Sedona. The Red Rock Visitor Center is not part of the National Park System - it’s U.S. Forest Service, specifically Coconino National Forest. There are no “backcountry permits,” let alone backcountry permits that cost money. The Red Rock Pass ($20 annual) is a parking pass for specific locations in the Coconino NF’s Red Rock Ranger District, NOT a fee to access the National Forest. Call of the Canyon Day Use Area where the the West Fork Trailhead is located is one of three “special fee areas” in the Red Rock Ranger District that are so popular and overused, staff and additional facilities are required to manage these sites - it costs a lot of money to staff and maintain these sites (but Natives shouldn’t pay that cost imho). It costs $10 per car to enter OR $2 per person on foot or bike. Staff at these special fee areas are employees of the contractor that manages them (Recreation Resource Management), not volunteers. If one was wearing a MAGA hat or other political campaign clothing or slogans, report them immediately to the Ranger District and Forest Supervisor’s office. Fees and permits are regulated under the Recreation Enhancement Act.