Honoring Indigenous Roots in State Parks
The past month has felt longer than usual for many of us – election time has a way of being both exhilarating and exhausting in that way. Now, with this monumental moment behind us, I imagine we all may feel a new wave of challenges have unearthed themselves. When the dust has settled, we’ll find ourselves facing an opportunity to heal, and to bring that healing with us into the next chapter.
This theme is apt as we honor the more than 100 Indigenous tribes that have been caring for our region’s natural resources for thousands of years. Native American communities across the state have had a tremendous impact on the California State Parks system that we value so much today.
To recognize the diverse traditions and histories of Native culture, and to acknowledge their important contributions, we’re intentionally celebrating Native American Heritage Month all November long. Yet in order to truly do our Indigenous communities justice, we must infuse this recognition into everything we do, all year long.
There have been many notable moments honoring California’s Indigenous culture over the past few months, including:
We hold deep respect and gratitude for Indigenous communities throughout California, and we are committed to bringing that perspective to everything we do to ensure California’s state parks are welcoming, accessible, and relevant to all visitors. We promise to continue honoring the land and the past, and to learn from and listen to all our Indigenous partnerships.
Lastly, we are also doing our part to honor all people from all walks of life in this work, which also means digging deep and acknowledging our own roles in contributing to – and ultimately dismantling – inequities. This is why we have hired a consultant to help our Parks California team intentionally build diversity, equity and inclusion from the inside out. We believe being transparent about the process is the simplest way to hold ourselves accountable.
Wishing you and yours well,