Effigy Mounds National Monument signs agreement to become Tribal Sister Park to Ioway Tribe National Park

The National Park Service (NPS) Effigy Mounds National Monument and leaders of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska (ITKN) signed a first-of-its-kind agreement establishing the first Tribal Sister Park relationship between a U.S. National Park and a Tribal Nation’s National Park this past week. This agreement promotes cooperation and support between Ioway Tribal National Park, located along the south/northeastern border between Nebraska and Kansas, and Effigy Mounds National Monument, located in northeast Iowa. It enriches the experience and capacity of the personnel at both parks, strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship.

“Today, we advance our co-stewardship commitments with Tribal Nations in establishing the first Tribal Sister Park relationship,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams in regard to the November 22 agreement signing. “We look forward to the opportunity in working together and exchanging information on topics such as Indigenous knowledge, environmental and cultural education techniques, and ecotourism.”

“Wenawine, thank you, to the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and Vice Chairman Lance Foster for their efforts in making this historic project a success,” said ITKN Chairman Timothy Rhodd. “This partnership will help the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska educate our tribal members and community as well as local, state, and federal representatives.”

Effigy Mounds National Monument was established October 25, 1949 to protect significant precontact earthen mounds found in northeast Iowa. Subsequent legislation expanded the purpose and significance by specifying the wildlife, scenic and other natural values of the area.

Ioway Tribal National Park - or Baxoje Mowatanani in Baxoje, the Ioway language - was established by the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska June 17, 2020 to preserve the land and promote heritage for future generations of its Tribal members and protect its various significant historical and natural resources. The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska was the second Tribal nation to establish a Tribal national park. The Iowa Tribe is one of the descendant Tribes with National Park Service (NPS)-recognized affiliation to Effigy Mounds National Monument, with a continued interest in Effigy Mounds National Monument and their ancestral connection there.

“We look forward to a period of healing, not only for the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska and Effigy Mounds National Monument but all Tribal Nations,” said Lance Foster, Director and Vice Chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. “There is a long and difficult history between the National Park Service and Tribes; may this be one step forward together towards the future.”

“I am honored to share in the first Tribal Sister Park agreement with Ioway Tribal National Park. This agreement and other national co-stewardship commitments provide a strong framework for parks like ours to work more collaboratively in the future,” said Effigy Mounds National Monument Superintendent Susan Snow.

This agreement is consistent with and supportive of Executive Order 13175 Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, Secretary’s Order No. 3403 on Joint Secretarial Order on Fulfilling the Trust Responsibility to Indian Tribes in the Stewardship of Federal Lands and Waters, and NPS Policy Memo 22-03, which guides implementation of Secretary’s Order No. 3403.