05/11/2022

Access Fund Signs Indigenous Field Guide Pledge

Indigenous peoples have lived on and stewarded the lands we climb on for countless generations. With that in mind, Access Fund believes that the climbing community should take its lead from the Indigenous community on issues of conservation and safeguarding cultural and sacred sites. Tribal voices need to be centered when it comes to conversations around land management and protection. Access Fund commits to including these tenets in our work by signing on to the newly created Indigenous Field Guide Pledge.

The Indigenous Field Guide is a set of resources, educational materials, and best practices created by Indigenous climbers to help others respectfully recreate in places with sensitive natural and cultural resources. The Pledge is a set of actions and commitments we can all incorporate into our recreation habits to ensure that we are respecting and protecting the lands we love.

“This Pledge was developed by Indigenous leaders who share a love for spending time outside, and Access Fund is proud to support it,” says Chris Winter, Access Fund executive director. “Education is the most important thing we can do to build respect for Tribes and protect cultural resources. Those educational efforts should be led by Indigenous people and strongly supported by the climbing community.”

Climbers and Tribes are natural allies when it comes to conservation. Given the shared love between the two communities for so many landscapes, we wish to strive for a future where successful collaborations, like our victory at the iconic Bears Ears National Monument, are the norm.

“In the long term, my hope is that climbers, and all outdoor recreationists, will increasingly give voice and platform to the Indigenous peoples stewarding the land and that our communities will one day join together not only for the sake of our climbing areas, but for the future of our land, our people, and our planet,” says Briana Mazzolini-Blanchard, CHamoru climber, co-creator of the Indigenous Field Guide, and Access Fund strategic partnerships manager.

"My hope is that climbers, and all outdoor recreationists, will increasingly give voice and platform to the Indigenous peoples stewarding the land."

So what can the climbing community do to support Indigenous peoples and protect cultural and sacred sites? “Educate yourself,” Winter says. “Seek out information on the importance of the places that you climb to the Indigenous people who have been there since time immemorial—and are still there.”

“Sign the Indigenous Field Guide Pledge,” adds Mazzolini-Blanchard. “Commit to new ways of thinking about the land, and begin implementing them into your outdoor recreation. Support Indigenous leaders, nonprofits, organizations, and businesses with your time, money, and resources, and give them the platform to be experts in this space.”

Access Fund is proud to be a part of this new initiative and committed to growing and strengthening our partnerships with Tribes across the country as we continue to work toward protecting everything our landscapes have to offer, from irreplaceable cultural sites to world-class climbing.

“Climbing and spending time outside are so much more rewarding when we have a deeper connection to the land,” Winter says. Mazzolini-Blanchard reflects on that idea: “ That connection draws us closer to the peoples, history, and cultures that were and still are present on these landscapes,” “If we take the time to learn about the human aspects of the land, we begin to see ourselves as a small piece of a much larger story, and that is where the strongest partnerships and advocacy really begin.”

The Indigenous Field Guide is available for free online. Check it out here, and consider signing the pledge.

Sign the Indigenous Field Guide Pledge

Commit to new ways of thinking about the land, and begin implementing them into your outdoor recreation.
Sign Now