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Honoring Communities of Indigenous Peoples

National parks share stories of Indigenous peoples, including Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian, both historically and present day. Most, if not all, of the lands in today’s national parks were once home to Indigenous peoples. From Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and Navajo National Monument, our national parks preserve, protect, and honor the historic and present stories of the communities tied to these lands.

The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s work helps rehabilitate and preserve historic sites and artifacts in national parks across the country. NPS, NPF, and tribal partners are working to increase collaboration, connect communities to national parks, and expand storytelling in parks to share a more comprehensive history of the U.S. so we can all gain a greater understanding of our land’s history.

NPF uses the language Indigenous peoples, Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian. 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 recognize the importance of and need for specificity in reference to distinct communities.

NPF's Work in This Space

NPF supports programs and projects that connect people and parks to the important stories of America’s Indigenous people, places, and events.

At sunset, a metal sculpture depicts spirit warriors on horses
Native American Fund
Native American Fund
Working with NPS, NPF’s Native American Fund program helps strengthen the relationship between sovereign tribes to foster collaboration in our parks. Initiatives range from education programs, storytelling and interpretation efforts, internships and service corps opportunities, tribal consultations and trainings for NPS staff, land protection and capital improvements, and more.
Learn More about Native American Fund
  • A wooden path leads upwards towards an earthern mound
    Land Conservation
    NPF’s Land Conservation program helps expand parks for all to experience and enjoy by working with NPS and nonprofit partners to acquire privately-owned land within national park unit boundaries, as well as supporting new park units that tell a more complete American story and protect unique natural beauty.
  • Two people, both with long braided hair, look at petroglyphs on stone
    Training NPS Staff on Tribal Consultation
    NPF is supporting NPS by funding an NPS training on engaging in tribal consultation to help park staff better understand the process and more effectively implement the government-to-government work with local tribes.
  • Program
    Service Corps
    NPF works with national parks and other partner organizations to engage diverse youth and young adults to address priority projects in parks.
  • A group of people hike up a trail, using stone steps to walk in a line through fall foliage
    NPF’s ParkVentures program helps engage historically excluded communities through outdoor recreation in national parks by supporting projects that focus on representation, accessibility, and interpretation.
  • Program
    Inclusive Storytelling
    Established in 2023, NPF’s Inclusive Storytelling program supports projects that help parks share more inclusive and comprehensive narratives. Grants enable work that documents, preserves, and shares the voices and actions of people who are not often recognized as having shaped our history or for whom the struggle for social, racial, and environmental justice continues.
  • A view of Haleakalā crater and sunrise
    Expanding Education Materials in Native Hawaiian Language
    An NPF Open OutDoors for Kids grant is supporting Haleakala National Park to develop ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) educational materials for fourth grade students and teachers. The online modules will be available for teachers to access anytime, anywhere on the park’s new Hawaiian language website. ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is the indigenous language of Hawaii and for centuries has been the language of the Native Hawaiian people Kānaka ʻŌiwi.
  • A still lake reflects a snowy mountain landscape in the distance
    Protecting a Glacier Bay Cultural Site
    NPF helped add a 150-acre cultural site to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The property is a sacred site for the Huna Tlingit and will be managed in collaboration with the Hoonah Indian Association.
  • A timber barn surrounded by bison in the valley of mountains
    Service Corps
    Wind River Stewardship Crew
    The Wind River Stewardship crew, supported by NPF and organized by the Montana Conservation Corps, mobilized Native American youth from nearby tribal communities to protect natural and cultural resources in three iconic parks in the Northern Rockies.

Related Stories

"We're Still Here"
"We're Still Here"
Chief Vincent Mann of the Ramapough Luunape Nation, with the help of NPF, is restoring ancestral land along the Musconetcong Wild and Scenic River. Their efforts include repairing trails, preserving Indigenous heritage, and engaging youth in conservation work.
Learn More about "We're Still Here"
  • A condor stretches out its wings as it takes off from a rock
    Supporting Condor Recovery
    In May 2022, NPF supported the release of two California condors in Redwood National & State Parks, within Yurok ancestral territory. The species is critically endangered, with only about 330 birds in North America, and has significant meaning to the Yurok Tribe, who led the project.
  • Project
    Expanding Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
    Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, with support from NPF, has doubled in size, expanding cultural preservation efforts and shedding light on the historical events of the Sand Creek Massacre.
  • Story
    Protecting the Ancestral Landscape of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
    Over 1,000 additional acres of ancestral Muscogee (Creek) Nation land are now protected at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Georgia, thanks to a collaborative effort with NPF. This expansion preserves cultural heritage and supports a co-stewardship model.
  • Superintendent Alisha Deegan
    Interview with a Superintendent
    Superintendent Alisha Deegan lives and works in her peoples' ancestral lands, now known as Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.
  • Project
    NPF, Sun Outdoors, Support Collaboration with Indigenous Tribes at River Raisin
    NPF and other partners are supporting River Raisin National Battlefield Park in fostering inclusive interaction with Great Lakes Tribal Nations through educational materials, exhibits, and films, enhancing cultural preservation and understanding.
  • From behind, a female hiker leans against a tor and uses binoculars to look across a vast green landscape.
    Bering Land Bridge National Preserve Experience
    In collaboration with Sitnasuak Native Corporation and affiliated tribes and thanks to The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, an NPF grant of $4.4 million will support renovation of the existing visitor center and outdoor area to create a welcoming and inclusive space.
  • Three people in a meadow. Two squat down and measure something while one stands and holds a clipboard
    Archaeological Investigations at Devils Tower
    A grant from NPF’s Native American Fund supported archaeological investigations at Devils Tower National Monument to help deepen knowledge of the site and the cultural resources that are vital to understanding the human history of the tower and its connection to the Indigenous people.
  • A stone-lined, dirt path weaves around to a scenic overlook across the Grand Canyon
    Transforming Desert View into an Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site
    NPF, in collaboration with other partners, is supporting Grand Canyon National Park in reshaping its Desert View area to transform it into an inter-tribal cultural heritage site, inviting visitors to learn about Native American culture and history.
  • Woman wearing pale pink blouse smiles wide with blue sky and vast ocean behind her.
    Secretary Haaland Makes History
    Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary.
  • NPS Director Charles F. Sams III
    Charles Sams is the First Tribal Citizen to Lead NPS
    Charles Sams is the 19th Director of the National Park Service. He is an enrolled Tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and is Cayuse and Walla Walla with blood ties to the Yankton Sioux and Cocopah Peoples.