Native American Perspectives of Rocky Mountain National Park

Principal Investigators:

Karen S. Barton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Geography Department
University of Northern Colorado

Solomon LittleOwl


Executive Summary

The primary goal of the NASS (Native American Student Services) project is to aid Rocky Mountain National Park personnel in better understanding Native American student views and attitudes toward public lands. This project focuses specifically upon perceptions of Rocky Mountain National Park by millennial-aged Native American students at the University of Northern Colorado. We draw recommendations for improving Native American-RMNP personnel relations should students eventually be hired by RMNP as interns or full time employees.  Specifically, we highlight cultural sensitivity issues as defined by our study’s focus group participants. 

This draft report provides the following: (1) the initial results of a focus group held with ten millennial-age NASS participants at the University of Northern Colorado; (2) initial data on minority enrollment at UNC; (3) Photographs from two of the trips that Native American Student Services (NASS) took to RMNP in 2011-2012.  In general, emerging focus group and “snapshot” results suggest that UNC First Nations students possess a strong interest in visiting public Rocky Mountain National Park, and maintain several solid ideas as to how best incorporate natives into park programs and services.