Monday, October 21, 2019


In the last few months, I (Debbie) have received a few emails about the National Parks. I have replied by directing individuals to An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, for Young People. 

When Jean and I adapted Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's book into one that teachers could more readily use on their own or with students, we made choices on what to modify, keep, leave out, or expand.

Knowing that some families visit National Parks, we decided to expand a bit on that topic.

In Chapter 9, "The Persistence of Sovereignty," we wrote about the Yellowstone Park Act in a segment we titled "Pushing Back Against Legalized Land Theft." In that section we talk about several instances in which a tribal nation fought to have land taken from them to create a national park or forest, returned. One example is Blue Lake, taken from Taos Pueblo when President Roosevelt created Carson National Forest in 1906. For decades, they fought to have it returned.

As you can see from the screen cap of my Kindle copy of that page, we also have a "Did You Know" textbox about a legal term: reserved rights. That was deliberate on our part because we knew there was a case before the Supreme Court, about whether or not Clayvin Herrera, a member of the Crow Nation, had rights to hunt in the Bighorn National Forest.

When teachers introduce information about the National Park system, we hope our adaptation will help them provide students with a more critical look at how those lands came to be "national" parks.

And we hope they'll draw connections from history to the present day. They can do that, for example, by studying and talking about Clayvin B. Herrera v. State of Wyoming. It cited the reserved rights doctrine. The court, by the way, ruled in favor of Herrera.


Adelaide Dupont said...

Really good read about the national parks and how reserved rights work.

Adelaide Dupont; author/reviewer/student

Ava Jarvis said...

Thank you for this.

I remember hearing about that court case and being pleasantly surprised. Stuff doesn't always work out.