As an advocate for our public lands, mainly managed by the US Park Service, I wholeheartedly agree with David Treuer in giving Indigenous peoples enhanced rights and management of their lands (“Return the National Parks to the Tribes” the Atlantic, May 2021). However, I was disappointed to see the lack of coverage of this in the Adirondack Almanack, and hope to create heightened awareness, especially following Indigenous People’s Day this week, and given the significance National Parks have in many residents’ lives in the Adirondack area. Native people should be given much more responsibility, management, and profit from National Parks, and as such, I call on the National Parks Service to put this control into the hands of Indigenous peoples, and you, as readers, to contact NPS and push them to do so.
Treuer, an indigenous person, recalls the war against Natives in Yosemite and similarly calls Yellowstone a “crime scene” during its founding, concluding that Natives must remain a part of the parks and become involved in legislation.
Indigenous peoples owned the nation’s land before settlers stole it, yet still, Americans fail to treat them with respect, uphold treaty rights, nor give them cultural and physical resources they need to live comfortably and safely. In the National Parks, where many tribal members are associated, our government lacks regard to grant them the ability to make decisions and care for the land, as they see fit for cultural, economic, and ecological purposes.
Because of their understanding of the land, ability to manage forests, and knowledge of wildlife, it is clear the authority Natives hold in protecting our lands. We, as Adirondack region residents, must fight for the return of stolen lands to these people, creating a system in which our National Parks are cared for in an efficient and cultured way.
— Lily Hudner is a student at Skidmore College