Native American Heritage Month

Heritage Sites is one of the many ethics cards in the Leave No Trace curriculum and this month we are highlighting the Heritage Sites tag since November is Native American Heritage month. Leave No Trace plays a role in this month and throughout the year by advocating for proper appreciation and travel among or within Native American Heritage Sites. Whether you are visiting a National Park or monument, State Park, a National Forest, or any other type of public land containing Native American ruins or artifacts consider the tips below. 

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Leave No Trace has specific guidelines that coincide with our 7 principles for heritage sites so we can protect the precious resources.

In order to protect the sites, restrain your pets and pack animals when approaching heritage sites. Make sure to keep an eye on young children in the fragile sites as well. Check to make sure if you need a permit to visit a site or if you are required to visit a site with a ranger.

The walls of ruins can be stressed easily by people walking on them or climbing on them, be sure to stay off and keep the ruins intact for future generations. Avoid walking on Middens, which are ancient trash dumps that are usually soft dark soil near heritage sites.

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Leave artifacts were they are and don’t rearrange them. Altering the artifacts location can change their story for other visitors. Rather then removing artifacts, take a picture of them or sketch them.

Heritage sites are considered sacred to Native Americans and the sites should be respected. Graffiti vandalizes the sites and removing it can cause more damage to the site. Please leave your name or initials off of the sites.

One of the many government agencies involved in paying tribute to this important month with stories, collections, heritage sites, and educational resources is the National Park Service. Within the NPS site you can find resources for teaching and promoting Native American Heritage Month in your community.

Thanks for reading and remember to be Like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace.

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2014 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool and Yakima.