News & Updates

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Andrew Leary - November 1, 2023
'We Are Still Here' graphic logo from 2024 American Indigenous Tourism Conference hosted by AIANTA and the Choctwa Nation of Oklahoma

Photo used with permission from the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

November is Native American Heritage Month. The Leave No Trace organization celebrates and honors the traditions, languages, stories, and inherent sovereignty of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. There are many important ways of celebrating Indigenous Heritage this year. Beginning this month, Leave No Trace wishes to uplift Indigenous voices as the authority on what responsible visitation and recreation means to guests spending time traveling to Native Nations and Native Communities.

A Brief History

Introduced by Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye and congressional delegate Eni Faloemavaega of American Samoa, the joint resolution stated that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon Federal, State, and local governments, interested groups and organizations, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” On May 24, 1990, Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution designating the month of November as the first National Native American Heritage Month.

Being a Responsible Guest

Being an informed and responsible guest of a Native Nation and Native Community is of the utmost importance. Many of the visitation impacts that occur on Federally-administered lands (e.g. National Parks, National Forests, Marine Sanctuaries, etc) are seen in Native Nations and Native Communities as well—like trash and litter, wildlife impacts, campfire impacts, etc. However, cultural-significant impacts are being caused by an untold number of guests and visitors. We encourage the entire Leave No Trace community to plan ahead by learning about responsible visitation directly from Native voices. To lead this series, today we begin with highlighting Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation:

Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation

According to its website, the mission of Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation is ”to protect, preserve and manage tribal parks, monuments and recreation areas for the perpetual enjoyment and benefit of the Navajo Nation – the spectacular landscapes, buttes, canyons, clean air, diversity of plants and wildlife, and areas of beauty and solitude.”

Navajo Tribal Park Rules and Regulations as well as Backcountry Use Rules and Regulations help every guest understand how to be responsible and mindful of the Navajo people and culture when spending time in the areas that the department protects:

For more information about visiting the Navajo Nation and any other Native Nation or Native Community, please seek out information directly from those Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian voices.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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