Nomination Results of Tribal Members to NPS Cultural Resource Geospatial Standards Committee

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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 September 2010 21:57

I would like to thank the Indigenous Mapping Network for your extremely helpful participation in gathering Tribal representatives to provide technical advice and assistance to the Federal Geographic Data Committee cultural resource work group that the National Park Service, Cultural Resource GIS Facility is currently trying to form.  I wrote several days ago asking for any volunteers who would like to participate and was overwhelmed with your kind and enthusiastic responses.  I would like to thank each of you who wrote me a personal email, called or participated in the voting process that the IMN hosted. We are very grateful to the IMN for being willing to put together the voting process so quickly.

Let me just clarify that the Federal Geographic Data Committee is not a Federal agency, but a committee whose members represent Federal agencies. We are simply seeking Tribal advice and technical assistance as we move forward in the creation of cultural resource spatial data standards. These standards and this work group are not directed toward any one Tribe, but we would appreciate having Tribal perspective in our discussions. Anything produced by the work group in the way of standards would only affect Federal agencies and it would be the choice of the Tribes to use the information generated or seek their own path.

The Cultural Resource GIS Facility sought out Tribal participation in the formation of this FGDC work group through other sources in the past but did not get many responses. It was suggested to us that we come to the IMN for help. Because of the overwhelming response that we did get through the IMN however we felt that it should not be the NPS or our office that chose Tribal representatives, but the Tribes themselves, which is why the IMN developed the voting system that many of you participated in. I provided the IMN with a list of all those who had volunteered directly to me so that the IMN could choose who they would like to participate in the work group to represent themselves.  I provided the IMN with the information that each of the volunteers gave me, which is why some individuals have more background description than others.

In order to accommodate as many as we can in the small work group, we have offered to each Tribe or region represented, the opportunity to nominate one or several people.  Regardless of how many names may be associated with a Tribe or region, that Tribe or region will have one vote. This is the same for each State and Federal agency. Each will have one vote when any decisions need to be made by the committee.  In this way, the Tribes can designate for themselves one person to voice their vote, but can have several people to participate in the process.  This is why you saw one or two names listed for a single Tribe in the voting.

The work group members are:

  • Robert Thrower (Poarch Band of Creek Indians)
  • Jill Wagner/John Hartman (Coeur d'Alene Tribe)
  • Sandra Gaskell (Southern Sierra Miwuk)
  • Jeff Cronce (Nez Perce Tribe)
  • Elaina Albers (Yurok Tribe)
  • Vernalee Grant (San Carlos Apache Tribe)
  • Dawn Sherk (White Earth Nation)
  • David Wyatt (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)
  • Navajo Nation (to decide/share between three people)
  • Alaska – Denise Rankin (Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska) (to decide/share between three people)

Peer member recommendations that were identified in the voting effort or through direct email enquiry include:

  • Alaska - Jacob Ivanoff, GIS, Bering Strait NSEDC; Bob Sattler, Staff Archaeologist, Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • Northwest - David Lewis, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde
  • Pacific - Mike Connolly, Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians; Patricia Ann Garcia-Tuck, Director/THPO, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Rocky Mountain - Don Sam, Confederated Salish and Kootenai; Don Aragon, Wind River Reservation; Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana; John Murray THPO Blackfeet Tribe
  • Southwest - India Lou Comosono, Archives-GIS, Pueblo of Zuni; Holly Houghten, THPO and Earl Bell from Mescalero Apache Tribe; Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Great Plains - Jhon Goes In Center, Oglala Lakota Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation; Brady Grant, THPO, Turtle Mt Reservation; Debra Dirlam, Office of the Environment Director, Lower Sioux Indian Community; Spirit Lake Sioux; Marcie Carter
  • Southern Plains - Karen Kaniatobe, THPO, Comanche Nation; Harlan McKosato; LaDonna TallBear, GIS/GPS Technician, and Eleanor Lefthand Bianchi, Elder, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma
  • Eastern Oklahoma - Terry Cole, THPO, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Darin West, Environmental and Natural Resources Dept, Osage Nation; Frank Harjo, Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Nancy John, Cherokee Nation
  • Midwest - Matt Eitrem, Bad River Tribe
  • Northeast - Tina Pierce, Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape; Arnold L. Printup, THPO, The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

To those of you who volunteered but did not end up in the work group, we value your opinions greatly and hope that you would consider participating in the larger peer group.

The peer group would not be involved in the heart of the work group activities, but would be able to review and comment on anything that the work group produced.  Once again I must thank the IMN for providing a forum for this peer group to continue discussing amongst yourselves and listening and commenting to what the work group is doing.

I would encourage you to register for the forum by joining that peer group, which will remain open to as many of you who would like to participate. It will continue to grow throughout the entire process.  The effort by the Cultural Resource Standards Committee could take about three years.

The list of those who have already registered in the forum, who are part of the work or peer group, is available on the IMN and can be found here:

If you do not see your name and you are a work or want to be a peer group member, please join the online dialogue at

Once the work group is finalized, I will organize a teleconference for the work group to orient everyone, introduce the FGDC, introduce the concept of spatial data transfer standards and update everyone on the basic principles that were outlined in 2009 in our initial meeting of Federal agencies as well as State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.  From there, we hope that the work group can develop a work plan and take a look at the FGDC standard creation process.  I hope to hold that meeting in late September or early October 2010.

Once again I would like to thank the Network and all of those who volunteered to be part of this process, either through the work group or the peer group.  We are grateful for your advice and perspective.  I will continue to keep the IMN informed via the forum regarding anything that the work group does.  If you have any questions, please let me know: 202-354-2141.

We look forward to continuing to work with the IMN!

Thank you,

Deidre McCarthy, GISP

Cultural Resource GIS Facility

Heritage Documentation Programs

National Park Service


Esri Nonprofit Organization Program - Nonprofits serving Tribal Communities

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GIS Solutions

Esri Nonprofit Organization Program

ESRI is pleased to announce a new Nonprofit Organization Program which aims to make its leading GIS mapping technology available to diverse Nonprofit Organizations around the globe.  This is a continuation and extension of the long legacy at Esri of supporting nonprofits to utilize GIS to support the important work that they do around the world.  This program was announced by Jack Dangermond, Esri’s President and Founder at the Gov 2.0 event on Sept. 9th, 2010 (Video).  Please note that US Federally Recognized Tribal Governments will continue to obtain software at no cost through the US Dept. of Interior however Nonprofit Organizations which serve Tribal Communities are eligible for support through this program.

 This offering waives commercial fees for Esri’s software, which is offered to qualifying Nonprofit Organizations for a low annual administrative fee.  For example the ArcInfo version of ArcGIS Desktop Mapping software which is commercially valued at over $36,000 (including all extensions) is offered to eligible Nonprofit Organizations for an annual $100 administrative fee.  A comparable offering for ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise provides Nonprofits with a complete GIS system for the management, visualization, analysis, and dissemination of GIS information that extends from the Desktop to the web, mobile devices and the cloud.  It provides organizations with the ability to share their activities with donors and the communities they serve by publishing geospatial web services and through interactive web mapping applications and dashboards, and mobile solutions.  Additionally, this program provides organization-wide offerings through a series of Enterprise Licensing Packages whereby a Nonprofit Organization can obtain hundreds of desktop mapping licenses, a set of GIS servers, and technical support for a set annual fee.

For more information on other discounts and training options for Nonprofits please visit the following website: or contact:

David Gadsden - ESRI
Nonprofit / Native American / Global Affairs
606 Columbia Street NW, Suite 300

Olympia WA, 98501, USA
Phone: 360.754.4727 x8911
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Skype: david_gadsden


Seeking Tribal Representatives to Participate in Creating Federal Agency-wide Cultural Resource Spatial Data Standards

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 11:16

Please let me introduce myself, my name is Deidre McCarthy and I work with the Cultural Resource GIS Facility of the National Park Service.  Our office works primarily with State, Tribal and other NPS groups to institute the use of GIS and GPS into cultural resource management practices.  We provide GIS and GPS training and work closely with various groups to apply these technologies to document cultural resources throughout the US.

Currently we are working on an important project to create cultural resource spatial data standards through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).  The NPS is chairing a cultural resource subcommittee of the FGDC whose primary purpose is to build these standards.  We are currently seeking Tribal representatives to participate in the standard creation process through a work group that will be composed of Federal agencies, State Historic Preservation Offices, Tribal representatives and local governments.  Your participation would not require travel to Washington, DC (where the subcommittee is based), but would include participation in scheduled teleconferences and review of materials produced by the work group.  We feel strongly that any FGDC cultural resource spatial data standard must incorporate Tribal perspectives, concerns and ideas and hope that your interest in the topic will contribute heavily to the process.  This important effort will have lasting impact on the exchange of cultural resource data between Federal agencies, States and Tribes who wish to share data, making that data sharing more efficient and much faster.  Particularly in times of disasters, such as the Gulf oil spill, data is needed quickly to ensure that critical cultural resources are protected.  We hope that these standards will allow for the protection of resources, security of data and improved communication regarding cultural resources throughout the historic preservation community.

<>One of the primary projects that the Cultural Resource GIS Facility has been working on for several years is the creation of cultural resource spatial data standards.  OMB Circular A-16 designates the National Park Service as the lead agency for the cultural resource spatial data theme, through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).  Our office has been given the task of working to create cultural resource spatial data standards as part of this role of a lead agency.  We began working on the issue some years ago, focusing on the National Park Service cultural resource spatial data to test our ideas and begin getting our own data in order.  However, we also began talking with other Federal agencies, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and private organizations in 2006 and 2007 to work toward developing some consensus on what larger FGDC cultural resource standards should look like and what they should focus on.

In December 2007 we drafted a proposal to the FGDC explaining the need for the creation of cultural resource spatial data standards, and explaining the decentralized nature of cultural resource data stewardship within the US, discussing that the States and Tribes hold the majority of the data for instance.  Any standards created through the FGDC apply only to Federal agencies in terms of needing to comply with the standards, but we felt strongly that because cultural resource data is held by the States and Tribes primarily, obviously they needed to be included in the discussion as well and help to formulate any such standards. The original proposal is posted on the FGDC website:

In February 2008 the FGDC Standards Working Group approved our proposal and established the cultural resource spatial data standards project as an official FGDC project within the Subcommittee for Cultural and Demographic Data.  In March 2009 we held a summit meeting to begin developing some consensus and attempting to define a path forward.  In the March 2009 meeting we had approximately 75 participants from Federal, State, and Tribal agencies as well as private organizations.

Several conclusions came from the March 2009 meeting, the first being that we need to focus first on data transfer standards that would allow us to share data among Federal, State and Tribal organizations, should we need or choose to, rather than data content standards.  Second, we needed to form a cultural resource work group within the Subcommittee on Cultural and Demographic Data.  Many participants of the March 2009 meeting offered to also join in the work group, however we are seeking greater participation from the Tribal communities to make sure that your voice is heard and incorporated into the standard process.

We hope to keep the size of the work group to a manageable number, around 40 individuals.  This group would responsible primarily for the construction of the standards and will include Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies.  We do not anticipate that the work group would take a significant amount of time from anyone's schedules and we anticipate that most meetings would be held through teleconferences.  We do feel strongly however that the Tribal perspective must be part of any standard creation process.

It was also suggested at our March 2009 meeting that we form a larger peer review group that would review any products coming from the work group before they went for public review.  We would anticipate that this group would be much more inclusive and be much larger.  This group would not necessarily be responsible for creating the standards, but it would provide comment, feedback and ideas for the work group to incorporate into the process.

If you are interested in participating in the work group or the peer review group, we would very much like to hear from you.  Our space on the work group is rather limited, but we feel that Tribal perspectives are very important to take into account.  Because we do not have this expertise, we would appreciate any participation you could offer.  If you have any suggestions of those you think would be interested in participating, or if there are any questions I can answer, please contact me.  We are hoping to have the work group participants finalized by September, however the peer group participants are much more open ended.

You can reach me at:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To give you some background, here is a link to an article that discusses the process that we went through in creating cultural resource spatial data transfer standards for the NPS and how that parallels this FGDC process:

Thank you for your consideration,

Deidre McCarthy, GISP
Cultural Resource GIS Facility
Heritage Documentation Programs
National Park Service


Native American Friends - Get Ready for Geoscience Alliance 2010

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 18:47

Geoscience Alliance Conference: Broadening Participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences.

The conference dates are September 16-18, 2010 and will be held at the Black Bear Casino Resort Hotel in Carlton, Minnesota. The resort/casino is owned & operated by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Geoscience Aliiance 2010 Logo

Registration, agenda,  and travel awards are available at:

According to Dr. Suzanne Zurn-Birkhimer, Deputy Director of the Purdue Center for Faculty Success, the conference will focus on four main themes:

Empowerment through Education: Shaping a Native voice in the United States on Education and the Environment

Native Students --our Next Generation of Environmental Leaders: Broadening Participation--Challenges and Strategies

How and Why We Count: Strategies for creating Native Friendly Evaluation

Science and Culture: How weaving traditional knowledge and culture into science can broaden participation and transform understandings

I will be attending the event, representing Indigenous Mapping Network (having landed one of the travel grants) and plan to cover the presentations and talks during the event. Let me know if you want to hear about a particular item on the agenda!


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