National American Indian Heritage Month at the National Park Service
For thousands of years, the First Peoples of Turtle Island have been environmental stewards, caring for and nurturing Mother Earth as she has nurtured them and brought them into existence.
Ocmulgee National Monument in Georgia is “a memorial to the relationship of people and natural resources,” the NPS says on its site, noting that it has been continuously inhabited for 17,000 years.
The mounds date back to 900 A.D., when the Mississippian culture arrived and built them “for their elite,” according to the NPS.
Then there are the cliff dwellings in Arizona, built by the Sinagua people, who constructed what is essentially a 20-room high-rise apartment directly into the limestone. Known as Montezuma Castle, it was one of the original four sites designated as National Monuments by President Theodore Roosevelt back in 1906. The magnificent work “tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape,” the NPS site says.
The National American Indian Heritage Month page also includes links to of interest to Native veterans, such as War in the Pacific National Historic Park, and to historic sacred sites that have been preserved in the parks system, such as the Indian Mounds of Mississippi.
No fewer than 70 national parks and monuments are part of the NPS system, and they are all highlighted throughout the NPS’s entire site.
There is also information about the Tribal Preservation Program, the NPS’s attempt to partner with tribes to preserve what is left of the rich cultures, artisan work and architecture that covered this land before contact.