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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

 yOUNG PEOPLE ON BOAT PULL FISH OUT OF NET  Pulling Northern pike and whitefish from a gillnet at Selawik Science-Culture Camp. Photo by USFWS

As Native American Heritage Month draws to a close, we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to say how proud we are of our unique and important relationship with Native American tribes and our commitment to the wildlife and natural resources we all cherish.

Due to the unique political relationship that exists between the U.S. government and Indian governments, the Service maintains government-to-government relationships with Indian governments. We work directly with tribes and respect Native American values when planning and implementing programs.

These programs include  working  together to inspire young tribal youth to become stewards of their environment through  the Bishop Pauite’s Firstbloom science program or the Klamath Tribal Youth Program, both in California; a fishing day for the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota; and through other programs across the country.

  2 kids and one adult hold salmon as others look on In Oregon, the Burns Paiute Tribe released hatchery-raised Chinook salmon into the Malheur River, and then harvested the salmon using traditional fishing methods such as spears, nets or baskets. Photo by Paul Henson/USFWS

Tribes help recover wildlife, including cui ui in Nevada, monarch butterflies, Apache trout in Arizona, bison in Wyoming, Atlantic salmon in Maine, Chinook salmon in Oregon and sickelfin redhorse in North Carolina and Georgia.

We are happy to reach out with training, whether it is in watercraft safety or treatment of fish disease.

The Selawik Science-Culture Camp in Alaska, the Preserving Our Homelands (POH) Summer Science Camp in Massachusetts and a recent “wild foods safety” brochure in Maine reinforce traditional ecological knowledge and age-old hunting and trapping traditions.

 aRROWHEADS ON A TABLE  Projectile points dating as far back as 8,000 years ago. Photo by Zintkala Eiring/USFWS

We promote programs to celebrate cultural history, such as the one showing the traditions of the Norwottuck people at the the Fort River Division of Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.  There, visitors learned about the arrowheads the native Americans in the area used and read the Native American Storybook of the Norwottuck, Algonquin people, designed by one of our interns, herself  an Oglala Lakota-Sioux Native American from South Dakota.

And we continue working to improve our tribal partnerships. For instance, last year we appointed the first-ever tribal liaison for our Migratory Bird Program.

Although the month celebrating Native American people is ending, our commitment to working with tribes is lasting, and we look forward to strengthening this very special relationship.

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