Synopsis: "In the American West, there are many places such as Rainbow Bridge and Devil's Tower that have been characterized as sacred to the Native American tribes or nations that inhabit these vast open spaces. But, what does the word "sacred" really mean? The American Indian relationship with the landscape is critical to and inseparable from their cultural identity. While it may be impossible for those outside the culture to completely understand, Uncommon Ground: The Landscape as Home will offer a glimpse into the relationship some tribes of the Colorado Plateau such as the Hopi, Navajo, Paiute, and Ute have with the landscapes in which they have lived for generations."
In March 2012, program manager for the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, a small independent federal agency based in Tucson, Arizona, Milton Bluehouse, Jr. asked and received permission from the new Chief of Interpretation, Denise M. Shultz, to utilize this video in tribal consultation and protocol trainings for federal agencies. The Institute assists agencies across the federal spectrum (Interior, BLM, BIA, NPS, FWS, FHWA, DOE, & USGS) with collaborative conflict resolution in matters involving the environment, natural resources, and public lands. Mr. Bluehouse is the program manager for the Native American/Alaska Native Environmental Program, and who works with tribal governments in this capacity.
Quote from Mr. Bluehouse, Jr.: "...we provide training on tribal government-to-government consultation, focusing on the federal Indian law and policy eras, tribal governmental and community protocols, and multi-cultural communications within the context of interest based negotiations; this in an effort to assist agencies and tribes in their intergovernmental meetings or consultations. It is in this program where I see a real benefit in the reference and possible use of the excellent video that Ms. Francis produced for your agency, “Uncommon Ground,” which is perhaps one of the best and most accurate educational videos on understanding tribal peoples’ relationship to the earth and land."