The Legal Mandate

Living peoples of many ethnic and occupational backgrounds may have an association with the land and its resources that pre-dates the establishment of a park. Ceremonial sites, migration routes, harvesting areas…all may be within park boundaries. While integral to a group's identity, they may not be why the park was established.

Nevertheless, by law, executive order, and agency policy, the National Park Service must respect these peoples and consider the effects of its actions, such as building a new road or visitor center or regulating the use of certain resources. This consultation is important to make more effective the management of NPS resources.

In turn, some laws, regulations, and Departmental Manuals regulate how ethnography is conducted.