Sign now to tell National Park Service Director Chuck Sams: It’s time to re-indigenize national parks!

Many national parks were created by violently removing Native people from our homelands, where our ancestors lived for thousands of years. But this history has long been erased from the national narrative. Instead, parks are portrayed as pristine and untouched.

To make amends for past and present injustices, we must re-indigenize national parks. And right now we have great momentum.

Chuck Sams, the first Native to serve as National Park Service Director, is pushing for co-stewardship of parks with Tribal Nations, and to use traditional ecological knowledge in park management.

We need to show Chuck Sams that there’s broad public support for this work. Please sign this petition to thank him for his leadership and call for even more action to re-indigenize the national parks.


Message to Chuck Sams, U.S. National Park Service Director:

Thank you for your leadership, including introducing a new NPS policy to encourage co-stewardship of national park lands and waters. We support your advocacy and agree that parks must develop deep relationships with Tribal communities for true collaboration and co-governance.

As part of the growing movement to re-indigenize our national parks, we’re calling for actions including:

  • Co-governing with Indigenous people, including joint decision-making and incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge in park management and conservation.
  • Partnering and collaborating with Indigenous peoples to plan what information to share with visitors about each park’s true history and about tribes’ current connections to the parks. This should incorporate Indigenous stories and worldviews, and coordination should include how to present this information, which should be featured prominently and permanently in visitor centers, signage around parks, and more. This may include presenting information in Native languages, or renaming parts of parks.
  • Honoring treaty promises by ensuring that Indigenous peoples with cultural and historical connections to the parks can access parks and use park resources.
  • Compensating Indigenous people for their wisdom, time, and energy in collaborating on park plans and management. Relationships with tribes connected to parks should be mutually beneficial, with compensation for Indigenous knowledge-holders. Another possibility could include sending portions of park revenue to tribal governments with ties to the parks.
  • Returning sacred places within the parks to relevant Native communities.
  • Launching a larger national conversation about recognizing national parks as ancestral Indigenous lands -- beyond visibility at individual parks, and beyond NPS staff. This could involve more media appearances, writing op-eds, celebrity partnerships, and more, with the aim of shifting culture.