latinx History and the national parks

Latinx have strong connection to history with the National Parks System and a vital part of America's future. Sadly, there's not many resources available for the Latinx community enabling them to better explore the history and stories of their people from the national parks.

Scroll to read Latinx history and the national parks, stories about by Latinx park rangers, and find organizations that are advancing Latinx inclusion outdoors.

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Latinx stories in the park

While the Latinx community represents 18.5% of the population, only make up 5.6% of the National Park Service general workforce and about 7% of NPS vistors.

African Americans, Native Americans, and other non-white groups are similarly underrepresented.

We aim to change that.

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Through Our National Parks

There are hundreds of sites of our native past to include a mound city in Georgia, and an ornate 19 room cliff dwelling in Arizona.

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An Enlightened Beginning: The National Park Service and the American Latino Heritage

Native American rights in national parks present a dilemma. These lands were wrongfully taken, and recognition of rights owing to treaties and the existence of significant cultural and religious sites or traditional use is the most equitable recourse.

Yet the continent has changed greatly since those nineteenth century treaties. The ecosystems found in the parks are fragmented or non-existent beyond their borders. The parks are the best -sometimes only - habitat available for many species. 

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The National Park Service and American Latino Heritage

While boarding the plane, we get the text. Mom was in the hospital.

My mother is a downwinder. She spent her early childhood in Kingman, Arizona, where the fallout of U.S. nuclear tests rained. She has nonsmoker’s lung cancer, diabetes, and blood clots. Now dialysis has entered the picture. She and my father left rural New Mexico for Phoenix, Arizona, when she first got sick. They figured big city doctors were better.

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cam juarez - How One National Park is Attracting Latino Visitors

Designated by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, Arizona’s Montezuma Castle National Monument became one of the first national monuments, preserving cliff dwellings in North America and showcasing the Sinagua culture’s ingenious use of the desert landscape to prosper for generations. Sixty years later, Georgia’s Ocmulgee National Monument was added to the National Park System to celebrate the many different Native American cultures that comprise over 17,000 years of history at the park. These are just two of the many national parks across the country that interpret the history, culture, and contributions of Native Americans in the U.S.

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Miguel Marquez - #NBCLatino20: The Park Ranger

On August 25, 1916, 100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service by establishing a new bureau in the Department of the Interior. Know what other bureau has always sat right alongside it? The Bureau of Indian Affairs.

This is no small coincidence. The two departments were not only closely situated, they were closely related in a “dual island system” of nature preserves and Indian reservations. We tend today to think of our national parks as sprawling natural treasures, gifted to our country by the government, starting with Congress’ Yellowstone Act of 1872, spurred on by the interests and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt.

The Yellowstone Act began a global national park movement, for which we are very grateful today, as scores of travelers enjoy the majestic wilderness and natural preserves they protect.

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pura vida - engaging latino youth in grant teton national park

In this article by the Guardian, three African American hikers describe fears and stereotypes they have faced – and why they love hitting the trails

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Our Initiative

Our initiative is to diversify our national parks by using a three layered approach:

Awareness - get people to stop and realize there is a problem here
Education - give them exposure to first hand experiences 
Action - take action by donating, volunteering, or spreading awareness

We're focused on connecting to more diverse audiences and creating content with this audience in mind. Join Our Facebook Group below to join the discussion, share information, and connect with like-minded individuals. 

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Organizations advancing Latinx inclusion outdoors

As an outdoor enthusiast, you may be wondering what you can to do support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors. The recent prominence of the Black Lives Matter Movement has brought issues of inequality and racism in the outdoors to the forefront and has made us question what we can do to be better allies and help drive change.

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