Published: Aug. 28, 2018

Background: The National Park Service (NPS) is s responsible for protecting, preserving and fostering appreciation of cultural resources within its custody on national park lands, as well as to demonstrate its respect for the peoples traditionally associated with those resources through appropriate programs of research, planning and stewardship. Cultural resource types include, but are not limited to, “ethnographic resources” associated with traditionally associated peoples who occupied park land prior to park establishment, as well as NAGPRA items including human remains, funerary objects, objects of cultural patrimony, and sacred objects.

Project Description: The intern will conduct a needs assessment of all 84 Intermountain national parks to learn their needs as it relates to ethnographic resources and to NAGPRA items. The knowledge gleaned will help to facilitate NPS/park resource management and preservation related to these resources, as well as to help build and enhance park relationships with traditionally associated peoples including American Indian tribes and other traditionally associated peoples like cattle ranchers.

The process for soliciting that information from parks will include the following: (a) Questions, with input from the intern, will be developed by the cultural anthropologist, who is the manager for both the Intermountain (IMR) Applied Ethnography Program and the IMR NAGPRA Program; (b) A spreadsheet will also be developed (and will likely be refined) into which the answers from parks will be entered; (c) Phone calls will be made to the appropriate contacts in the 84 parks; (d) Responses will be entered into the spreadsheet; (e ) An assessment will be made of the responses that will be used to determine the work plans for out-years in both the Applied Ethnography and NAGPRA programs. The responses will be prioritized. Accomplishing the prioritized workload will occur in Phase II of the project and will be funded in out-years. It is entirely conceivable that the needs assessment will be completed sooner than planned and the intern will assist with accomplishing the identified workload. During the calls, other needs are likely to be identified by parks and those needs will be discussed with the cultural anthropologist and then the intern and anthropologists will triage to other appropriate IMR divisions.

What are the benefits to the intern? Specifically, the intern will be (1) oriented to cultural preservation law and cultural resource types within the NPS; (2) provided with the real-world experience in the legal and other regulatory context for federal management of land. These legal requirements include laws like NAGPRA, NHPA, AIRFA, NEPA, their regulations, and to NPS Management Policies and Guidelines; (3) oriented to national parks in the Intermountain Region and associated tribes; (4) learn the specific NPS/park requirements related to management and compliance of ethnographic resources and to NAGPRA items; (5) engage with the subject-matter-experts in parks; and (6) ideally travel to at least one park to meet the park contact and to learn about the ethnographic resources and NAGPRA issues at the park.