Coalition on National Parks’ Future Seeks Native Involvement

In this the year of the centennial of the National Park Service, a coalition has emerged with a vision for the future of our national parks and other public lands, a vision of greater diversity and inclusiveness. The “Next 100 Coalition” is comprised of more than 30 civil rights, environmental justice, and conservation organizations.

The coalition’s vision statement calls for an approach to our national public lands that reflects the ethnic and demographic diversity of the nation, including greater use of national parks by people of color, and more people of color in the work force of the Park Service and other federal land management agencies.

The coalition also calls for more attention to ethnic diversity in telling the stories about our parks and national monuments, and in adding new ones. As the vision statement says, “Protecting cultural and natural landscapes that tell America’s complex history will help us learn from our past, honor our ancestors and educate future generations.”

America’s complex history includes a great many stories about how places that are now national parks used to be inhabited by indigenous tribal nations. There are also many stories about how it came to be that now, when we do talk about such habitation, we use the past tense.

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