John Lam, Communications Consultant, Partnership for theNational Trails System
INDIGENOUS MAPPING AND RESEARCH PROJECT TO FOCUS ON NATIONAL TRAILS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kiana Etsate-Gashytewa has been selected as the Indigenous Mapping and Research Coordinator for a National Trails project to be launched by Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) in partnership with Native Land Digital (Native-Land.ca), Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, and Federal land management agencies in early 2022. This project intends to help agency and partner organizations advance their knowledge of Ancestral Lands and increase meaningful partnerships and collaboration with Indigenous Communities along National Scenic and National Historic Trails (NSHT).
Etsate-Gashytewa is an Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps member and recent graduate of Northern Arizona University’s Applied Indigenous Studies and Political Science programs. During her AmeriCorps tenure, she will develop a public/interactive GIS map that will integrate the National Trails System data and data collected and disseminated by Native Lands Digital, the creators of an online, interactive map showing Indigenous territories. A toolkit and educational resources will accompany the map and be made available to all stakeholders. Estate-Gashytewa is of Zuni and Hopi heritage and has developed an extensive policy and research resume that includes working on numerous programs related to Native youth enrichment and in the Flagstaff office of Congressman Tom O’Halleran.
The National Trails System was established in 1968 and now includes 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails. Many of these trails were first Indigenous sacred landscapes, and they still contain the stories of the ancient and historic trade routes of present-day Indigenous cultures. Through mapping analysis and outreach, the project will highlight these traditional territories along National Trails and start a dialogue with Indigenous communities that will help promote their involvement in future conversations, projects and decisions made on National Trails.
“National Scenic and Historic Trails showcase much of America’s natural, historic and cultural heritage but there is much more to learn and share about the people, events and traditions that make the lands traversed by National Trails significant. PNTS is excited and honored to welcome Kiana and to work with the project partners to offer resources and forums for important dialogues that will help foster genuine relationships and provide space for co-creation between Indigenous communities and the public and private partners that co-manage National Scenic and Historic Trails.” Valerie Rupp, PNTS Executive Director.
The project complements Biden-Harris Administration efforts to support the priorities of Indigenous communities on public lands as a part of conservation initiatives and planning, including the 2021 “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful” that identifies honoring Tribal sovereignty and supporting the priorities of Tribal Nations on public lands as a principle of the decade-long conservation challenge to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife.
“The Administration’s priorities have opened doors to have crucial conversations and they provide the impetus to forge new and diverse partnerships/relationships that strengthen the required formal government to government consultation. This project is agency funded and intended to be the beginning of important – and necessary – conversations that will spark genuine future collaborations and foster long-standing relationships across the entire National Trail System. Through transformational partnerships, coordination, listening, and co-creation of projects we can assure that all voices are heard and that our future generations will steward these lands and trails accordingly.” Carin Farley, National Scenic and Historic Trails (Lead), Bureau of Land Management.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP FOR THE NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM
For nearly three decades, the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) has been a collective voice, a resource provider, a convener and a hub for exchange, learning, and action for the National Trails System. As the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on the 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails (NSHT), PNTS brings together professionals, leaders and trail and hiking enthusiasts to promote a thriving, accessible, and inclusive National Trails System for all. More at pnts.org
ABOUT NATIVE LAND DIGITAL
Native Land Digital (Native-Land.ca) is an Indigenous-led not-for-profit dedicated to providing education about Indigenous peoples, territories and knowledge systems across the world.
ABOUT ANCESTRAL LANDS CONSERVATION CORPS
Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps is a division of Americorps whose mission is to lead our Nation back to cultural and ecological well being. The Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps is specifically designed to engage Native American youth and young adults with offices in Acoma Pueblo, Albuquerque (Tiwa Territory), Gallup (Navajo Nation), Zuni Pueblo, and Hopi Nation. More at ancestrallands.org.