Cultural Landscapes - header
Tim Peterson

Cultural Landscapes - what is a cultural landscape?

What’s a cultural landscape?

You can’t put a half-acre radius of protection around a cliff dwelling and call it good.

Cultural landscapes - explained

Protecting cultural landscapes requires an understanding of the intricate web of relationships between people and the physical environment.

Cultural landscapes include more than isolated archaeological sites. A cliff dwelling, for example, may be connected to a nearby spring or ancient pilgrimage route. While traditional uses vary by tribe, Indigenous people today rely on these lands for food, medicines, ceremonies, and perpetuation of their cultures.

Cultural Landscapes - Regina quote

Cultural Landscapes - Regina quote
Tim Peterson

Our religion and our traditional customs and values begin at birth. Every day we walk a prayer. It's not just practicing it. It's lived from the day you come into this world. It's lived from the moment you wake up.”

Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, former co-chair, Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

Cultural landscapes - how we protect

How do we protect cultural landscapes?

Cultural Landscapes - celebrate knowledge

Cultural Landscapes - celebrate knowledge
Blake McCord

Celebrate traditional knowledge

Respect, reciprocity, and reverence are central to Native people’s worldviews and guide relationships between humans and the living world. Their traditional knowledge is long grounded in the experience of mutual flourishing of species — a philosophy and practice that stands to teach the rest of us how to care for the natural world.

Cultural Landscapes - Building relationships

Cultural Landscapes - Building relationships
Blake McCord

Build up Native communities

The environmental movement has long excluded Native communities, recognizing the value of the land without the people that are part of it. Our first step as conservationists, hikers, campers, sportsmen and women, and others is to acknowledge the historical injustices inherent in public lands and work to build up Indigenous communities.

Cultural landscapes - open to giving back power

Cultural landscapes - open to giving back power
Tim Peterson

Be better listeners

To address inequalities that persist today, Indigenous communities must have space to reclaim power. We need to do a better job of genuinely listening, authentically engaging Native people in land management decisions, and stepping back to honor cultural perspectives and traditional knowledge.

Cultural Landscapes - Peter Pino quote

Once you find out that you have made a mistake, there should be a time that you take to figure out how to resolve the issue. Unless that issue is resolved, that's going to be a wound that's going to be taken into the future."

—Peter Pino, tribal council member of the Pueblo of Zia, Native America Calling

What you can do (section title)

What you can do

Cultural landscapes - what you can do (text)


U.S. colonial history isn’t the rosy story taught in public schools. Read Native writers, challenge your assumptions, and act to amplify voices that have been silenced.

Visit respectfully

Remember that all public lands are ancestral lands. Be respectful of cultural resources, connections, and traditions. Tread lightly when visiting cultural landscapes.

Stand with tribes

Care about Bears Ears and other public lands? One of the best ways to help protect cultural landscapes is by standing behind Indigenous people.

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