Big Sky Roundup

Ahead of 150th anniversary, Yellowstone looks to improve engagement with tribes

By: - August 6, 2021 3:52 pm

Obsidian Cliff in Yellowstone National Park (Photo by John Good | Yellowstone National Park).

Ahead of its 150th anniversary, Yellowstone National Park is looking to improve its engagement with tribes who have deep-rooted connections to the park’s land and resources, according to a press release from the park this week.

According to the release, there are 27 associated tribes who have “historic and modern connections to the lands and resources now found within the park.”

“Our goal is to substantially engage every tribe connected to Yellowstone,” said YPN Superintendent Cam Sholly in the Wednesday release. “It’s very important that the 150th anniversary is not just about Yellowstone as a national park but also a pivotal opportunity for us to listen to and work more closely with all associated tribes. Our intent is to partner with associated tribes to better honor their significantly important cultures and heritage in this area. The engagement we’re doing now will help set a stronger foundation for collaboration well into the future.”

While the release lacked details on what it plans on doing to improve relationships going forward, it did tout recent examples of engagement with the tribes.

For example, the park noted the recent transfer of Yellowstone bison to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes at Fort Peck as a past success. The release also said the park initiated a multi-year partnership with  Native American Studies faculty at Salish Kootenai College, who can offer the park and its staff a “unique understanding of the cultural importance of archaeological resources within the park.”

In April, the 27 tribes attended a listening session at the park to discuss potential future initiatives. And in June, Sholly and other park staff met with members from tribes to talk about the future of the park, which included a temporary installation of a Crow-style teepee at the park’s North Entrance.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.