The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Grounds for Indigenous Knowledge in Park Planning: An Arizona Example

Lawrence F. Van Horn

Grounds for indigenous knowledge in park planning may be categorized in at least three different ways: 1) legally, meaning requirements by law to consult with culturally affiliated indigenous peoples and thereby seek indigenous knowledge to apply to governmental-agency land management; 2) morally, whereby land managers seek indigenous knowledge to respect and incorporate human rights in their land management; and 3) professionally, by which agency, contracting, or academic anthropologists ply their ethnographic craft to learn about indigenous beliefs and practices, with a people's or group's permission and cooperation, for the consideration of the concerns of indigenous peoples in planning alternatives. With reference to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, this paper shows how these legal, moral, and professional motivators combine as variables in conducting Native American consultations with the monument's neighbors, the Tohono O'odham.
The paper goes on to examine a policy of encouraging national park nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. Reference is made to the neighboring Tohono O'odham communities of Gu Vo and Hickiwan and the sacred rock formation within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument known as I'itoi Mo'o or Montezuma's Head. Analysis is offered within the focus of this ICAES session on national policies and community consequences and the attempt "to meet the challenge of protecting the viability and diversity of resources as well as communities" (Crespi and Hoover 1998).
Applying indigenous knowledge should contribute to the management of national parks for the benefit of all concerned by way of better protecting and preserving cultural and natural resources, better interpreting local cultures to visitors, and providing more opportunities for parks to cooperate in the conservation by neighboring peoples of their respective identities as each transmits its cultural heritage to the next generation. Adapted from traditional dryland farming methods and applied to a certain wash in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to divert intermittent desert wash water for erosion control, it is demonstrated that a Tohono O'odham mesquite weir model fits these expectations. The listing of I'itoi Mo'o in the National Register of Historic Places is compared and analyzed in terms of how well it fits these same expectations.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 2, Vol. 18, Fall, 1998 pp 142 – 149

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