Latino History & Culture in Parks
Reflecting Our PastLatino history is a vibrant part of U.S. history. More than 500 years of Hispanic and Latino history and heritage can be found in hundreds of national parks across the country.
Inspiring the FutureNational parks are powerful places to honor and celebrate Latino history. They help us share the history, heritage, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino people, past and present, through a unique lens.
NPF's CommitmentThe National Park Foundation’s Latino Heritage Fund has helped preserve Latino history and elevate Latino stories and contributions throughs national parks for over a decade. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service and other partners, the Latino Heritage Fund recognizes and celebrates Latino histories and stories, past and present, in our parks.
Celebrating Diverse Histories
Many national parks reflect America’s natural beauty. Others show another type of American beauty – the cultures and traditions of people from every walk of life. National parks honor our different experiences and united histories. Latino culture is a vibrant part of this cultural mix.
Carmel Benavides was possibly the first Hispano to cross the Santa Fe Trail. Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia was a botanist and conservationist who fought to preserve the Northern Californian redwood forest. Emma Tenayuca was a labor organizer and civil rights activist during the Great Depression. José Sarria was a WWII veteran and LGBTQ+ activist in San Francisco. The stories and contributions of Hispanic and Latino people in America are diverse and continue to impact our lives today. These histories help us explore a broader range of individuals and communities – each with their own story to share – and invite us to imagine our future together.
The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s work in history and culture supports educational programs, professional development opportunities, and the rehabilitation and preservation of historic sites and artifacts in national parks across the country. NPS and NPF are working to expand storytelling in parks to share a more comprehensive history of the U.S. so we can all gain a greater understanding of parks’ history.
NPF uses the terms Latino and Hispanic. While the intent is to honor inclusivity and be representative of various ways that people identify, we recognize that this language does not account for all identities. We also recognize the important and need of specificity in reference to distinct communities.
NPF supports national parks, programs, and projects that highlight the stories of Hispanic and Latino people in the U.S.
ProgramCultural Landscape ApprenticeshipsNPF’s Cultural Landscape Apprenticeships program helps connect young people to careers in historic preservation and natural resource management at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Area of WorkHistory & CultureNPF’s History & Culture programs support dynamic educational programs, professional development opportunities, rehabilitation of historic sites, and the preservation of artifacts and places that help us better understand America today by fully reflecting our past.
ProjectNPS Theme StudyIn 2013, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund sponsored a theme study for the National Park Service. The study, “American Latinos and the Making of the United States,” provides a framework for NPS to continue their work to identify, preserve, and interpret places that tell stories of Latinos in the U.S.
You can help improve access to places, cultural resources, and stories that give Americans a stronger connection to our country. Support NPF’s work around preserving the history and culture that live within our national parks.