The Center of the American West (CAW), the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies (CNAIS), Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), and representatives from the Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, the Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray in Utah, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Colorado, are carrying out a project aimed at promoting better representation of tribal nations at the National Parks.

In the project’s first phase (2016-2018), we facilitated two workshops with tribal representatives, park officials, and CU Boulder faculty and students. From these meetings, partners identified next steps for the project, and NPS officials and tribal representatives requested that CAW and CNAIS continue to orchestrate this project. In the project’s second phase (2018-2021), we collaboratively gathered and assessed existing research, tribal resources, and other materials for summary documents on each tribe's history and connections to the park region. In the project's current phase, we are using the summary documents to develop new interpretive exhibits and programs at the park. These activities will guide Rocky Mountain National Park staff as they share information about tribal nations with the 4.5 million annual visitors at the park.

To learn more, check out this "Exploring Estes Park" podcast episode on Indigenous Connections:

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New Visitor Center exhibit panel on Native Peoples at Rocky Mountain National Park. 2023 

Panel discussion at the 2023 American Association of Geographers, April 2023. (From left to right: Brooke Neely, Natasha Myhal, Ashlyn Barnett, Rising Buffalo Maybee, and Kim Swift)

Visit to Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, October 2018

Visit to Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, October 2018. (From left to right: Kathy Brazelton, Nichol Shurack, Kelly Dick, and Terry Knight, Sr.)

Participants from Indigenous Connections workshop

Visit to Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, September 2019. (From left to right: Brooke Neely, Kathy Brazelton, Natasha Myhal, Kelly Dick, and Max Bear)

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Sign

South Entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. (Credit: Don Becker, USGS. Public domain.) From: