Friday, Dec 9, 2011
National American Indian Heritage Month was celebrated in the park in November with a series of special interpretive hikes, talks and demonstrations that were given by NPS and BLM staff and Native Americans.
American Indian culture, history, partnerships, and friendships are critically important at Pipe Spring, which is located in extreme northern Arizona within the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation. The monument tells cultural and historical stories associated with American Indian tribes and peoples associated with the site, including the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloans, the Southern Paiute people and Kaibab Paiute Band, and the Navajo, who traversed the region.
The history of relations among the Paiute, the Navajo, and the Mormon pioneers who built a massive sandstone masonry fort at the site in 1870 is regularly interpreted in the park. The National Park Service is also deeply involved in partnership interpretive ventures and projects with the Kaibab Paiute Band, including a partnership visitor center and cultural museum, interpretive films and exhibits, and a partnership museum collections storage facility.
A total of 21 special interpretive hikes, talks and demonstrations were given over the course of the celebratory month of November. This year, programs were presented by National Park Service staff from Pipe Spring National Monument and Bureau of Land Management staff from Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. The programs included demonstrations and talks on traditional Southern Paiute life ways, trade between the Paiutes and Mormons, Navajo traditional culture, and a special presentation on educational/work youth partnerships between Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument and the Southern Paiute.
Special interpretive hikes on adjacent reservation lands were also given in cooperation with the Kaibab Band. Off-season visitors and local community members braved the cooler temperatures of November at 5,000 feet on the Colorado Plateau to attend these programs.
These kinds of programs continue to expand and are actually presented at least twice each year – during American Indian Heritage Month in November, and during Arizona Heritage Month in March.
Since the time of the monument’s proclamation in 1923, which simplistically and briefly referred to “hostile Indians” as a part of the monument story, the sensitivity and interpretive programs of the NPS have greatly and positively evolved to include the importance of the centuries old, and continuing presence of Indian people.