Open Access Thesis
National parks and reserves--Alaska--Environmental aspects; Alaska Natives--Government relations; Sustainable development--Alaska;
This research examines the relationships between National Parks and Indigenous communities across the state of Alaska. National Parks as a government agency can be perceived in a negative way; but in Alaska, while there are issues and limitations, parks are going beyond policy guidelines to work with communities and help build a resilient future for both the parks and the local people. This work dives into the National Parks policies and practices, projects resulting from engagement of community stakeholders, perceptions of engagement, community capitals, and sustainable development. In particular, the study investigates how these policies, practices, and interactions ultimately contribute to sustainable community development in Alaska. A document review and interviews with employees from the National Park Headquarters, Regional Office, Park locations, and Indigenous People/cultural representatives were completed to gather data based on their expertise and experiences. It is apparent that the National Park staff in Alaska is passionate about working with Indigenous Peoples and communities to the best of their ability and that relationships are constantly growing in some way. Though there has been a difficult past, many interviewees found that while there is always room for improvement, the relationships are growing positively. They made suggestions on how to build trust, capacity, and communication as well as how to adjust policy, engagement, and current practices between parks and Indigenous communities.
Keywords: Arctic, Polar Geography, Arctic, Alaska, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous communities, National Park, National Parks, National Park Service, NPS, Community, Community Capitals, Communication, Engagement, Sustainable, Resilience
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Geography
Andrey Petrov, Chair, Thesis Committee
1 PDF file (xiv, 188 pages)
©2020 Siobhan McTiernan
McTiernan, Siobhan, "Alaska national parks and indigenous peoples: Collaboration for a protected future" (2020). Dissertations and Theses @ UNI. 1038.
Available for download on Monday, July 13, 2020