This presentation is part of the Texas Cultural Landscape Symposium, February 23-26, Waco, TX.
Julie McGilvrey: Anyone? Rachel, if you could step up to the mic, there’s one right behind you.
Rachel Adler: This question is for Holly. Holly, in your presentation, you talked about trying to establish a good relationship with tribes to do better archeology, better landscape studies. However, I’ve always understood that the tribal consultation process is a government-to-government process. So as individuals or good practitioners of landscape recordation, archeology, whatever we’re doing, how do we reach out to you guys on a non-government-to-government level?
Holly Houghten: Personally, I don’t know of any THPO who would turn people away other than there’s a lot of people who are out there for their own gain to obtain certain knowledge or something. But for people who are working to help preserve resources, I would say contact the historic preservation office, or if they haven’t assumed those responsibilities, they typically will have somebody in charge of cultural preservation and find that out. Or if not, then he would need to contact the tribal president and state what they’re interested in and why, your reasoning.
Holly Houghten: And as I said, in a lot of cases, if you’re out to help to preserve and document those things, I don’t see tribes turning you away. We have a lot of students who are working on different projects, and it’s appreciated more by the tribes if they are approached rather than them just trying to do that project on their own through what they can find or individuals they talk to, but if they actually were to approach the cultural people or the tribal leaders before they proceed with that project. And most tribes too, nowadays I think you can locate them on the web. The Mescalero Apache tribe has their own Facebook page that you can send in things. And also, the tribe has a government, so the phone numbers for those and the addresses are all present there.
Speaker 4: Okay. I have a question from Michael. The National Park Service does officially designate certain cultural landscapes. What’s the potential that the Texas parks could eventually be doing something similar?
Michael Strutt: We certainly could do that. In terms of where we are in that process, we’re really at the beginning stages of doing that, of looking at that. It’s something that within the cultural resources program we’ve had conversations about how do we get there? Financing is part of it. We’re currently three people down on staff, those kinds of things. When we have the money and we have the time, we will go get the cultural landscape reports done. We have a lot of archeology done across the parks. And so we, at the moment, are doing it more, as I said, on a case-by-case or an ad hoc basis, but it is a part of the conversation that we are having as a program. And again, once we get our staff built back up, it’s something that as a manager I intend for us to be doing and talking about.
Speaker 4: Can we think that maybe within five years, there will be an official designation of some locales?
Michael Strutt: I’m a government bureaucrat, so I won’t promise timelines.
Speaker 4: Nothing like job security.
Julie McGilvrey: And to that, Michael reached out to me and we’ve been having conversations. You reached out to me about a year ago probably about talking to your staff. And yeah, so there’s dialogue going on between Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Parks Service. So, there is work being done in that direction I think, so.
Michael Strutt: It definitely is a hope of ours, yes.
Jodi Jacobson: Yeah. Hi, I’m Jodi Jacobson and I’m with Texas State University. I have a question for Rachel. As you’re working on the complexity of dealing with a historic landscape with an overlapping prehistoric landscape, and of course the focus is primarily on the historic and then how the prehistoric ties into it, how are you integrating with tribes and tribal concerns over their cultural landscape issues within the same area?
Rachel Adler: That’s a really good question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer to that question, so because the land is administered by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and as you can imagine, they don’t have a history of good communication with the surrounding tribes. When this land was developed for scientific research and development of the atom bomb, there was essentially no communication that we’re aware of with the surrounding tribes. That land was … Hm?
Julie McGilvrey: Go ahead.
Rachel Adler: Oh, am I not supposed to be saying these things out loud?
Julie McGilvrey: Oh, no. It’s just the Department of Energy. No, I’m just kidding. I’ll speak to it when you’re done.
Rachel Adler: Yeah, so the land was essentially taken and used. And obviously, it was secret and nobody in the rest of the country … probably you can count on one hand the number of people who knew what was happening at those sites. And so unfortunately, that hasn’t evolved in the way that it should. So I think one of the things that we’re hoping to do is to bring in that aspect of tribal consultation. There’s a lot that’s been done on those sites that can’t be undone, that consultation never happened for, and so I think the best way to move forward is to bring folks in now and say, “This is where we’re at right now. How can we move forward in a way that’s sensitive to you all and to stake that you have in these sites and this land? And how can we handle it moving forward?” That’s going to obviously not undo the things that have already been done, but at least hopefully not making things worse.
Julie McGilvrey: Yeah. And so, it’s complicated. As Rachel said, the National Park Service does not get to do tribal consultation for this park. That is the Department of Energy. So we can make recommendations, but the Department of Energy will do what they want to do. So it’s a little bit out of our hands. However, documenting the cavates; when we first started, and this can continue on, I think with Rachel’s team, we do have tribal members doing that work.
So, they are there, they are on the site, and we need their expertise. And so as much as they can come over, they do work for the National Park Service for Bandelier National Monument. As much as they can come over and help, we want them there, and they know that, and they have a very good relationship with the archeologist from LANL. So, there’s layers of things going on here in this place and how we’re working to document it.
Robert knows how complex this is, too. He’s right there with us on all of this. The cavates were damaged and used by the Manhattan Project, and so if we don’t talk about them, we really can’t talk about the Manhattan Project and how that land was used. So again, you got to collaborate and talk. And what I’m finding with the Department of Energy, if I’m allowed to say this publicly, is that this is about education and that is the role of the National Park Service. And that’s what we’re doing. So it’s just a process, and they’re coming along, I think. Yeah. So, thank you [inaudible 00:08:13] …