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Academy to host Native American consultation
Dr. Jeff Blythe catalogs a find at an archeological site on the Air Force Academy during a Native American consultation June 9, 2010. Blythe is a representative of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, one of 14 tribes invited to a second consultation Aug. 9-11, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Johnny Wilson)
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Academy to host Native American consultation

Posted 8/8/2011   Updated 8/8/2011 Email story   Print story


by Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

8/8/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The 10th Air Base Wing commander will host representatives from up to 14 Native American tribes Aug. 9-11 as part of a consultation to develop memoranda of understanding among the Academy and the tribes.

Col. Thomas Gibson, in his role as host for the nation-to-nation talks, will formally welcome representatives of the Native American nations the morning of Aug. 9.

The memoranda, once written, will focus on when the Academy should consult with tribal leaders before kicking off construction projects, said Greg Long, chief of the 10th Civil Engineer Squadron's Asset Management Division and the Academy's action officer for the consultation.

The three-day summit follows up on a consultation in June 2010, which was designed to build relationships among the Academy and the tribes, which represent 13 federally recognized sovereign governments, Long said. Representatives from five nations -- the Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes of Oklahoma, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe -- attended last year's summit.

The Academy will also ask the tribes to help identify sites of cultural significance, said Vicki Williams, the Academy's cultural resource manager. Site surveys in 2004 identified 10 archeological sites that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and that may be of interest to one or more of the tribes.

"We're asking the tribes to help us define sites of cultural significance," Williams said. "We begin by having a professionally credentialed archeologist examine and establish an archeological site. The tribes will walk the lands and determine what is significant to them."

That significance may comprise areas passed down through tribal elders, areas where significant events took place or where Native American religious ceremonies were routinely performed, Long said.

The Academy must identify, evaluate and protect historic properties with cultural or religious significance to federally recognized tribes in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act. Executive Order 13175 and Department of Defense Instruction 4710.02 require staff at the Academy and other military bases to build stable and enduring government-to-government relations with tribes "in a manner that sustains the DOD mission and minimizes effects on protected tribal resources."

The meeting agenda includes discussion and caucuses Aug. 9 and 10 and a site visit to Cathedral Rock, one of the sites identified as eligible for the NRHP listing, on the morning of Aug. 11.

Invited to attend the 2011 Native American Consultation were representatives from:

-- The Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Mont.
-- The Northern Arapaho Tribe, Fort Washakie, Wyo.
-- The Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Fort Washakie, Wyo.
-- The Ute Indian Tribe, Fort Duchesne, Utah
-- The Ute Mountain Tribe, Towaoc, Colo.
-- The Southern Ute Tribe, Ignacio, Colo.
-- The Jicarilla Apache Nation, Dulce, N.M.
-- The Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge, S.D.
-- The Apache Nation of Oklahoma, Anadarko, Okla.
-- The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, Lawton, Okla.
-- The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Concho, Okla.
-- The Kiowa Nation of Oklahoma, Carnegie, Okla.
-- The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Anadarko, Okla.

8/9/2011 1:46:31 PM ET
I never knew that the AF worked with Native Americans like this. I think its wonderful. I am half Oglala Sioux Tribe Pine Ridge S.D.bringing this home
Siyo, Langley AFB VA
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