National Park Service awards Amah Mutsun with Hartzog award.

“Volunteer Group Award

Amah Mutsun tribal volunteers Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

Pinnacles National Park, California

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Pinnacles National Park have cultivated a lasting partnership. Tribal volunteers, collaborating with the park and the University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley, conducted two research projects that take an innovative approach to habitat restoration. By integrating traditional Native American land management practices with contemporary techniques they are restoring and protecting the natural and cultural processes of a unique California grassland system.

One of the most prominent California Indian land management techniques was the application of fire. As part of their studies, a traditional burn was reintroduced to the Pinnacles landscape. Tribal elders made the first ignition in a deergrass meadow using traditional methods alongside NPS, Bureau of Land Management, and California Department of Fire professionals.

Tribal volunteerism and involvement is also enriching interpretive stories and programs, increasing understanding of the park natural and cultural resources, and enhancing strategic planning. The park hosted its first archaeological field school in 2011 with Amah Mutsun tribal volunteers working side by side with University of California Berkeley archaeologists and students to conduct detailed archaeological surveys. Tribal participation fostered a greater learning opportunity for students and park staff as they relayed cultural practices and philosophies relevant to the past and present through dance, song, and storytelling.”

For the full list of recipients, please visit the National Park System page of awards here.

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