Local Historic Preservation Staff Attends Training With Wyoming BLM
This summer, Bureau of Land Management Wyoming Rawlins field office archaeologists formed a unique partnership with the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Office to train Tribal interns in archaeological field methods on BLM-managed land.
Each day, the traditional cultural specialist interns practiced these archaeological field methods in a different portion of the Between the Mountains Traditional Cultural Landscape in the Rawlins Field Office area in central Wyoming. The landscape encompasses 32 miles of unencumbered land with only a few low-profile fences and two tracks marring the views toward the Shirley Mountains.
The week-long training taught the interns how to locate and record archaeological sites and the importance of identifying native plants that have traditionally been used. Sites confirmed to be sacred to the Fort Peck Tribes were documented, along with stone effigies identified as having clear ties to the night skies.
The training was important because it provided a new ecosystem for the interns to study. Instead of the high plains environment surrounding the reservation, the interns ventured into an intermontane sagebrush basin that represents traditional lands utilized by the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes.
The TCS training idea was conceived by BLM Archaeologist Natasha Keierleber and Fort Peck’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Dyan Youpee.
Keierleber applied for a grant to pay for the interns’ travel and per diem money. However, it became clear that no method of transmitting payment to the Tribes had been established at the federal level. This posed a potential roadblock to the training program. Ultimately, Keierleber was able to have guest travel profiles set up through Concur, a travel and expense invoicing company.
On the final day, the four traditional cultural specialists/ interns ventured out alone to practice identifying stone features and artifacts within the sacred landscape.
According to a BLM press release, organizers hope that the momentum from this training will be carried forward each summer, allowing Tribes to send representatives to train on BLM-managed land.
For more information, contact BLM at 307-775-6256 or visit blm.gov.