National Parks Fail to Reflect Diversity

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   November 7, 2000
Contact:   Andrea Keller, 202-454-3332


National Parks Fail to Reflect Diversity

Washington - While the National Park System is one of America's best ideas, it has yet to reflect the full cultural diversity of our nation. Native Americans, African Americans, and other minority groups do not feel connected to or involved with national parks for many reasons, including cultural differences and issues of inaccessibility. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has joined the National Park Service (NPS) and several supporting organizations to convene the Mosaic in Motion 2000: National Parks Embracing and Engaging All People, a national workshop addressing the issue of diversity in our National Park System. The workshop begins November 9 at the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and continues through November 11.

"Separately, we are diverse communities of color struggling with the problems of accessibility to and lack of representation within the National Park System," says Iantha Gantt-Wright, NPCA Director of Cultural Diversity Programs. "Through Mosaic 2000, we come together as community partners with the National Park Service to seek solutions."

NPCA's primary goal for the conference is to engage NPS and representatives of culturally diverse organizations in interactive workshops for the development of legislative, administrative, and policy initiatives for creating lasting systemic change. The first two days will be spent in educational forums and roundtable discussions designed to provide participants with the tools that will empower them to effect change on the ground in their parks and communities. The final day in Santa Fe will be devoted to cultural immersion. Trips to Pecos National Historical Park, the Pueblos of Rio Abajo, Bandelier National Monument, and traditional Hispanic villages are included.

"NPCA's mission is to protect and enhance the integrity of the National Park System," says Thomas Kiernan, NPCA president. "We plan to do that in part by working with NPS to help establish national standards and to develop strategies leading to greater diversity in the NPS workforce, park visitorship, park advocacy, and the heritages that the parks commemorate."

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