A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Jewell Underscores Commitment to Telling America's Story at White House Forum on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today underscored the importance of efforts to commemorate and interpret Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture and history, particularly through the National Park Service, in order to tell a more complete story of those who have contributed our nation's rich heritage.
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have long been leaders in every aspect of our social fabric – in government, business, science, medicine, the arts, education and our armed forces,” Secretary Jewell said. “From Angel Island where more than one million Asian immigrants arrived on these shores, to the Chinese immigrants who helped build the railroads across the country, to the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, these stories are all important threads in the great American tapestry.”
Today's White House Forum which was hosted by the Department, along with the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House AAPI Initiative, attracted scholars and other leaders from the AAPI community to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and discuss the National Park Service's new Asian American Pacific Islander Theme Study.
Under the leadership of Dr. Franklin Odo, former head of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, scholars are developing a theme study and other materials over the next 18 months to further the understanding of how the National Park Service might appropriately identify and understand AAPI heritage and culture.
“The Asian American Pacific Islander Theme Study is an important first step in what must be a longer journey to more completely document and preserve Asian American Pacific Islander heritage sites across our country,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service remains committed that our parks and historic preservation programs reflect the diversity of the American experience, and this study will allow us to add to the growing body of resources that tell the AAPI story.”
Jewell noted that the theme study is part of an overall effort by the Obama administration to commemorate the stories and contributions of women and minorities that have been not been fully recognized in the past.
Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the Interior Department, Rhea Suh, said, “This is a pivotal moment for our community – the National Park Service AAPI Theme Study is an invitation for all of us to share the incredible contributions we have made to our country's rich cultural and natural heritage. I am proud and honored to be part of Interior's efforts to build a department that reflects the needs and diversity of America and look forward to continuing this conversation."
In her remarks today Jewell highlighted steps that have already been taken to represent a more inclusive story of the AAPI contributions to our nation's history. This includes the designation earlier this year of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle as an affiliated area of the National Park System, which recognizes the national significance and mission of the museum.
Jewell also recognized Interior's distinct responsibility, through the Office of Insular Affairs, to work with our nation's island areas to empower them and to help find solutions to their most pressing challenges.
“The federal government under this administration through its various initiatives is working daily to find innovative approaches to highlight and showcase some of our unique cultural sites and historic artifacts that celebrate Americans in and from the Asia-Pacific region,” said Eileen Sobeck, Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. “In many ways our gathering is a reflection of our commitment to this initiative but also a demonstration of our collective duty to holistically represent and celebrate peoples from Asian American Pacific Islander identities."