On February 25, 2003, the Archeology and Ethnography Program convened a 3-day workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to "develop and disseminate a greater comprehension of diverse concerns characterizing the ways NPS staff and contractors understand ethnographic resources and the peoples traditionally associated with them, and highlight the progress towards increasing mutual goals and support by:
- providing a brief retrospective of the first decade of the NPS ethnography program and development of concepts such as Traditionally Associated Peoples (TAPs) and Ethnographic Resources;
- drafting protocols for identifying and profiling TAPs and ethnographic resources for General Management Planning and management purposes;
- adding newly identified ethnographic resources to the Ethnographic Resource Inventory; and
- revising the existing protocol for the baseline study—the Ethnographic Overview and Assessment—and its conversion to a phased study in which phase 1 identifies and profiles the TAPs, surveys ethnographic resources, and incorporates elements of the Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Project (REAP).
The participants in this workshop included the following NPS contractors, ethnographers, managers, planners, and peoples traditionally associated with park resources. Also listed are the formal presentations they made at the workshop.
February 25, 2003
- Muriel 'Miki' Crespi, (Chief Ethnographer, Archeology and Ethnography Program, National Ctr. for Cultural Resources): Retrospective
- Sarah Craighead, (Superintendent, Saguaro National Park): The Role of Ethnography in Park Management
- Alexa Roberts, (Superintendent, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site): Applying Ethnography in Park Management
- David R. M. White, (Consultant, Applied Cultural Dynamics): The Invisibility of Certain "Traditionally Associated Peoples": Social Construction, Destruction and Reclamation of Place: Natural, Cultural, and Industrial Resources and the Establishment of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
- Charles Langlas, (Professor, University of Hawaii at Hilo): Using Surveys to Describe Native Hawaiian Traditional Use of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
- Larry Loendorf, (Consultant, Loendorf and Associates): TAPS and Access to Non-renewable Resources in National Parks
- Sherri Lawson Clark, (Research Fellow, Population Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University): Conducting Ethnographic Research: Strategies and Lessons Learned in African American Communities
- T.J. Ferguson, (Consultant, Anthropological Research, L.L.C.) and Kurt Anschuetz, (Rio Grande Foundation for Communities and Cultural Landscapes): Ethnographic Landscapes of the Petroglyph National Monument: Working with Traditionally Associated Peoples in New Mexico
February 26, 2003
- Benita J. Howell, (Professor of Anthropology, The University of Tennessee): Suggestions for Identifying and Working with Mountain People Traditionally Associated with Parks in Southern Appalachia
- Michael J. Evans, (Chief of Cultural Resources, Midwest Regional Office, NPS): Working with the Ethnographic Resources Inventory
- Mark Schoepfle, (Anthropologist, National Center for Cultural Resources, NPS): The Ethnographic Resources Inventory: How NPS Integrates Ethnography Nationally and Locally
- Nat Kuykendall, (Chief of DSC Planning and Site Division Branch of Planning): Ethnographic Applications in National Park Planning and Management
- Rebecca S. Toupal, (Assistant Research Scientist, BARA, University of Arizona): Evolving Research on Ethnographic Resources: Resources, Places, Landscapes
Richard W. Stoffle, (Research Anthropologist, BARA, University of Arizona):
Scandinavian Folk Fisher Communities in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
February 27, 2003
- Daniel L. Boxberger, (Professor of Anthropology, Western Washington University): History, Ethnohistory and Oral History: The Ethnographer's Dilemma
- Michael A. Downs, (Consultant, EDAW, Inc.): Identification and Documentation of Traditionally Associated Populations: A Case Study from Biscayne National Park
- Karen Gaul, (Professor of Anthropology, Hendrix College) and Corey Lashlee: Rural Ozark Women and Traditional Associations to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway
- Karen James, (Consultant, Washington): Living and Working in the Shadow of the Olympic National Park
Breakout sessions held February 27 and 28 were intended to discuss:
- Ethnographic aspects of management needs (2/25/03)
- Planning processes and ethnographic information needs (2/26/03)
- Ethnographic resources and ethnographic resource inventory (2/27/03)
In each session, participants were expected to answer the following questions:
- What are we doing right?
- What are we doing wrong?
- How can we improve?
This report will summarize the contributions that both the presentations and the breakout sessions made to the objectives stated above. In general, the presentations and breakout discussions summarized the progress made by NPS ethnographic research since the beginning of the NPS Ethnography Program, and raised provocative questions. However, they did not identify specifically the solutions to problems raised. This report will summarize the questions raised, cite the presentations where appropriate, and draw from available information to make proposals for further discussion.
Retrospective of the first decade of the NPS ethnography program
The program got its start in 1981 when Muriel "Miki" Crespi was enlisted to implement an Indian program. She soon established that:
- NPS found itself increasingly dealing with more than just Indians
- These peoples were different from the public, for whom the NPS mandate was the assurance of visitor enjoyment
There were no laws specifically mandating that the process or results of ethnography be integrated into the NPS resource planning process. In order to integrate itself into this process, the program developed the concept of "ethnographic resource" and "traditionally associated peoples." These terms are mutually referencing, and are the crucial defining variables for the ethnographic program.
As stated in Chapter 5 of the NPS Resource Management Policy "[f]or purposes of these Management Policies, social/ cultural entities such as tribes, communities, and kinship units are 'traditionally associated' with a particular park when:
The entity regards the park's resources as essential to its development and continued identity as a culturally distinct people; and the association has endured for at least two generations (40 years); and the association began prior to the establishment of the park.
According to the policy, then, ethnographic resources are "the cultural and natural features of a park that are of traditional significance to traditionally associated peoples." NPS defines four categories of these resources.
- Places, including sites and structures
- Objects, including artifacts
- Natural resources important to traditionally associated peoples
Although mandated and defined in NPS resource management policy the Ethnography Program differed from other cultural resource programs because it has no legal mandate for its existence. There is no Congressionally-mandated directive to apply ethnography in any cultural resource management program. Ethnography's legislative backing is thus indirect—through laws that require consultation with Indians and other peoples directly affected by the measures NPS undertakes. These include:
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA)
- Native American Graves Repatriation and Protection Act (NAGPRA)
NPS ethnography's principal focus has been to research and inventory traditionally associated peoples and the ethnographic resources important to them. The research is conducted primarily through
- Ethnographic overviews and assessments
- Rapid ethnographic assessments
- Traditional use and subsistence studies
The inventory is conducted primarily through the Ethnographic Resources Inventory, or ERI. The ERI is an electronic data management system that
will aid in meeting legislative, regulatory, and policy requirements for identifying ethnographic resources and associated groups; in forecasting consultation needs and budgets; in notifying interested groups about anticipated planning activities; in developing appropriate public involvement strategies; and in identifying resources that require monitoring" [NPS CRM Guidance, Release No. 5, 1997, 10:169].
The ERI has been incorporated into the NPS Strategic Plan and Performance Plan to evaluate and report on how NPS cares for ethnographic resources through the Government Performance Results Act of 1993 (GPRA).
Questions of how the ERI fits into the strategic plans and Ethnography Program operation will be discussed further in this paper.
Identifying and profiling TAPs and ethnographic resources for general management planning and management purposes
NPS Managers outlined four major questions to that arise while engaged in resource planning with peoples not normally considered part of the public. Sarah Craighead pinpointed the primary problem: employees sometimes transfer on a frequent basis. When they show up at a strange park, they need a quick orientation to the kinds of natural and cultural resources are they dealing with, and the initiatives are they undertaking. Alexa Roberts added that these managers needed information on
- Who are the stakeholders in general and TAPs in particular?
- How are these groups connected with the resources in the park?
- How can we involve these people and build relationships with them?
- What kinds of roles do these questions imply for ethnographers?
Traditionally associated peoples are kinds of stakeholders. Stakeholders are defined, here, as people having an interest in NPS resources.
Identifying traditionally associated peoples
Other presenters mentioned various conceptual problems such as how to define traditionally associated peoples. In agreement with Dr. Crespi, they reiterated that traditionally associated peoples include more than Indians or other groups with clear ethnic boundaries. They maintained that some of these peoples can be defined by occupation or lifestyle, such as Cape Cod sport fishermen. White also mentioned gangs, nudists, pagans, and ORV users who had become serious stakeholders at Indiana Dunes NP. Similar examples included the Mormon orchard farmers at Capitol Reef, mountain climbing associations who clashed with the Sioux and Cheyenne over access to Devils Tower. In these examples, NPS management tended to exclude the so-called human factor from their resource management, and troublesome political repercussions were the unnecessary result.
Other speakers, such as Benita Howell, brought up methodological implications in defining traditionally associated peoples. In her studies, rural peoples were not easily distinguishable by ethnicity. Research required a shift in emphasis to a study of peoples' sense of place, rather than on cultural or ethnic distinctions. For example:
- Genealogy becomes important in the research, to determine who has held land through the years
- Eliciting detailed knowledge of place, as indicated in place names, becomes important
- Eliciting detailed environmental knowledge and use of resource [as indicated in resource stewardship/conservation and use]
- Studies of lifestyles associated with home place and identity become important.
Determining connection with the parks
Sherri Lawson Clark added that in rapid assessments of urban environments, the existence of groups themselves is difficult to establish, and must be established as the ethnographer proceeds through the sampling of individuals with whom to interview. In other words, the ethnographer establishes the existence of a group through a documented network sample. The existence of a bounded social group is not obvious because many of the people with whom she was working, in Anacostia NP, may have died or moved away.
She also noted that the sample may include individuals who are members of a broad range of resource user groups, including those who have traditionally used the resources even for recreation purposes.
The conceptual difficulties of defining these peoples have implications for long-term relationships because initial problems with NPS sometimes make these people cautious to communicate and establish long-term relationships.
Long-term relationships and systematic involvement
All the speakers stressed that NPS had to assume a more aggressive, proactive form of consultation so that these people could be heard. Howell in particular emphasized this need in context of the fact that the Appalachian peoples with whom she worked had been ignored through more conventional methodologies used in social and standard NEPA-mandated environmental impact assessment methods. Howell and others stressed that consultation establishes the means for collaboration and thus remains the key element of the ethnography program
Role of ethnographer as mediator and maybe part of the negotiation
The implications for the ethnographers were stark and should be considered seriously by all sectors of the NPS Ethnography Program.
- To the TAPs: ethnographers need to be careful not to make promises they can't keep
- To the NPS they need to do more than just report problems and deliver criticism. They must deliver constructive criticism, i.e. be able articulate specific problems and solutions.
Ferguson and Anscheutz shared with the participants their perspectives on ethnographers as being real mediators. They stated the position that it was no longer possible for an ethnographer simply to relay findings to management, particularly through reports and other "gray literature."
They pointed out that the role of mediator is easier with groups having some kind of sovereignty than with rural or urban groups having no such standing. Loendorf added that negotiations would involve having to assume a possibly adversarial role viz. the traditionally associated group. For example, it was possible that the traditional religious use of an ethnographic resource such as the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, the addition by Indians of so-called rock art at Petroglyphs NP, or the Hopi trapping of eagles at Wupatki may be either defacement or result in the irreparable loss of the resource.
Participants stressed that ethnographers must target working with park resource management and other decision makers to develop criteria for reasonable requests, as well as guidance for good-faith negotiations between management and traditionally associated peoples. All sides thus would have to consider questions such as:
- Could resource be procured from another source location?
- If nonrenewable or endangered, how badly will traditional use affect it?
- Does the park have a record of protecting/preserving the resource through research and inventory?
They acknowledged that most of these rules could not be widely generalized across National Parks. Each issue will have to be defined, studied, and negotiated individually. Also, ethnographers need to take active part in the negotiation of solutions. To take such part, they need to have data that address these questions. At present, however, both the ethnographers and the contractors agreed that NPS ethnographers tend to have closer relationships with the contractors than with the superintendents where the research is conducted. This situation must change.
Adding newly identified ethnographic resources to the Ethnographic Resource Inventory
In general, contractors were only beginning to be aware of the Ethnographic Resource Inventory and its potential applications. Schoepfle and Evans stressed that it is important primarily as a pointer to existing studies and research that may be important to NPS planning and decision making. It is not a substitute for consultation or research. Thus understanding its applicability and importance should proceed apace with the kinds of reports ethnographers must write, and how they use these reports. Evans summarized that the information in reports must be:
- Reusable, i.e. research does not need to be constantly updated nor new research undertaken
- written at a moderate level of detail i.e., enough detail to inform the decision and get to the "bottom line" but not so detailed as to make such a decision difficult
- addressed to an immediate crisis or planning need at the parks i.e. policy and other needs are not an immediate issue
The ERI would have to point quickly to resources, link them to available documentation, and highlight data gaps as well as available research information.
In general, there were three major problems with the ERI. First, managers are not familiar with DO-28, the NPS order requiring ethnography to be applied in resource planning. The reason is that DO-28 is centered only on policy. Ethnographers observed that nobody gets sued from outside NPS if policy is not followed. To managers, ERI conveys anxiety because of issues regarding potential sensitivity of information. Information such as place names are kept vague or withheld from the database.
Second, the ERI seems to accentuate questions that both NPS ethnographers and contractors had working with traditionally associated peoples.
- Is it locality or cultural grouping that allows special traditional access to some resources? (Answer: it depends on the resource, the planning needs of the park, and the peoples in question).
- What about resources located outside the boundaries of park? (Answer: again, it depends on the resource; some parks maintain stewardship for resources outside of their boundaries; most do not).
- Can a record be in two databases? (Answer: in theory yes; in fact never because databases define the fields for their records so differently that records never contain the same information).
- What constitutes an ethnographic resource, e.g. every elm tree? (Answer: it depends on the specific park and peoples. In some case, an old tree, for example, may be a site or landmark. In other parks, the tree as a species may be a source of medicine, food, or building material).
- Why can't an ethnographic resource be an ethnographic landscape? (Answer, it can, but an ethnographic landscape in the Cultural Landscapes Inventory is defined differently than one in the Ethnographic Resources Inventory. They are analyzed and thus defined differently between ethnographers and landscape architects).
- E.g. the Cherokee in Oklahoma; would they still have interests in Great Smokies? (Answer: why not? Indians in Oklahoma exercise rights over artifacts in their original eastern homelands through NAGPRA).
- Could there be cultural affiliation but still not be an ethnographic resource? Give me an example. (Answer: cultural affiliation is generally a subset of traditional association. All culturally-affiliated are TAPs but not all TAPs are culturally affiliated).
- If somebody is barred from using the resource, does it cease to become an ethnographic resource? (Answer: it depends on how long the group is barred and if the resource ceases to be of interest to them).
- How does an ethnographer use evidence to document the traditional association of a group to a resource for an ERI record? (Answer: there are two ways. In the first, something like an Ethnographic Overview and Assessment or published article may be cited, definitively associating the group. In other cases, the document may be little more than some field notes of a conversation with a park employee. The former case is definitive. The latter is a "progress report" of documentation, indicating a need for more research).
Third, both ethnographers and contractors continued to voice discomfort at the fact that the ERI forces the researcher to focus on the resource itself, and then tie in the relevant cultural context of a TAP. For example, they pointed out that:
- It is difficult to study, much less inventory, plants, until the use of a site is described.
- A traditional use study for the some peoples such as the Hopi would threaten the cultural affiliation and other issues presently under litigation.
Toupal and others maintained that of the four major kinds of ethnographic resources, some of these are easier to describe than others in the ERI. For example, the ERI is more difficult to fill out for a landscape or place than for an object or natural resource.
As the inventory is introduced to more parks, their resource planners and decision makers increasingly ask questions central to ethnography's mission:
- Can traditional use be commercial? e.g. Key Biscayne (Answer: why not; commercial fishing occurs among Scandinavian Americans on the Great Lakes—see Stoffle et al this volume)
- How does "traditional" use change over time? (Answer: it needs to be updated in studies)
- What kind of variability is there within what is a "traditional" use? (Answer: same as above)
- When does a use cease to become traditional? (Answer: see definition—when a resource is no longer recognized as central to the purpose of the people proposed as traditionally associated with the resource).
In sum, many of the problems associated with the Ethnographic Resource Inventory appear to reflect conceptual problems that NPS ethnographers and contractors are experiencing as part of applying the art and craft of ethnography. The requirements to use a database seem to highlight questions which may otherwise be glossed over when writing conventional narratives typical of most ethnographic field work conducted at NPS
The meeting did not succeed in
- drafting protocols for identifying and profiling TAPs and ethnographic resources for General Management Planning and management purposes;
- adding newly identified ethnographic resources to the Ethnographic Resource Inventory; or
- revising the existing protocol for the baseline study - the Ethnographic Overview and Assessment.
It did succeed, however, in directing the Ethnography Program toward the goal of better integrating ethnography methods and findings into NPS decision making at all levels. It has focused NPS ethnographers toward the need to better integrate their role into resource planning and decision making, beginning at the parks. Ethnographers need to:
- focus on directing their studies toward specific decision recommendations, and mobilize available evidence toward such recommendations
- train and direct contractors toward the same goals.
- recognize that the cultures of traditionally associated entities may be defined from the standpoint of occupation as well as from the lineage and boundaries often seen as ethnicity
- recognize that these cultures are dynamic and changing, and constantly have to be updated
- integrate data management into ethnographic process and product,
- constantly be updated on new methods and techniques that help apply ethnography to NPS resource management and problem solving
- look forward to developing minimal standards that provide a baseline for ethnographic process and product, at the same time maintaining the flexibility necessary for varying conditions through the National Park Service.