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EarthCaches on tribal lands


GeoawareGSA1
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As of 1/10/11, there is no policy regarding the placement of EarthCaches on tribal lands. Like all other EarthCaches, EarthCaches placed in tribal lands must meet EarthCaching guideline #8:

"8. All EarthCache sites developed must have prior approval of the landowners before submission (depending on local country laws and customs). The developed text should be sent to the landholder/manager for approval. When applicable the cache owner must have written permission from the owner or appropriate land-managing agency. The name, title and contact details of the person that authorized this EarthCache MUST be given at the time of submission in a "Reviewer Note". If permission is not required, please provide the reason, i.e. public road pull-off in a " Reviewer Note". If information about permission is not provided, the submission may not be published."

And like all other EarthCaches, issues related to permission will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, subject to “local country laws and customs”.

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As of 1/10/11, there is no policy regarding the placement of EarthCaches on tribal lands. Like all other EarthCaches, EarthCaches placed in tribal lands must meet EarthCaching guideline #8:

"8. All EarthCache sites developed must have prior approval of the landowners before submission (depending on local country laws and customs). The developed text should be sent to the landholder/manager for approval. When applicable the cache owner must have written permission from the owner or appropriate land-managing agency. The name, title and contact details of the person that authorized this EarthCache MUST be given at the time of submission in a "Reviewer Note". If permission is not required, please provide the reason, i.e. public road pull-off in a " Reviewer Note". If information about permission is not provided, the submission may not be published."

And like all other EarthCaches, issues related to permission will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, subject to "local country laws and customs".

 

So, did the Navajo Tribe give their consent to having EC/regular caches placed on their lands? The Tribe owns all the lands of the Navajo Reservation, there is no private ownership on the Reservation. This would mean that approval would need to be received from the Tribal Council.

 

Is this the correct interpretation of your post?

 

John

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Considering that the Earthcache is now disabled, it looks as though permission probably wasn't obtained, and the reviewer initially overlooked the fact that it's on Navajo land. I suspect that the reviewer has asked the owner to get permission.

 

This is merely conjecture. The correspondence between the reviewer and the cache owner is private.

 

This situation is a good reminder about the importance of self-policing within this game. Reviewers can't be all-knowing, and sometimes they need additional information to make the right decisions. Thanks for bringing this up here, 2oldfarts - by acting quickly to bring this to attention, you may have prevented an unfortunate situation.

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As of 1/10/11, there is no policy regarding the placement of EarthCaches on tribal lands. Like all other EarthCaches, EarthCaches placed in tribal lands must meet EarthCaching guideline #8:

"8. All EarthCache sites developed must have prior approval of the landowners before submission (depending on local country laws and customs). The developed text should be sent to the landholder/manager for approval. When applicable the cache owner must have written permission from the owner or appropriate land-managing agency. The name, title and contact details of the person that authorized this EarthCache MUST be given at the time of submission in a "Reviewer Note". If permission is not required, please provide the reason, i.e. public road pull-off in a " Reviewer Note". If information about permission is not provided, the submission may not be published."

And like all other EarthCaches, issues related to permission will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, subject to local country laws and customs.

 

The virtual cache was in a public place that permission is not required to be there.

Edited by Manville Possum Hunters
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So, did the Navajo Tribe give their consent to having EC/regular caches placed on their lands? The Tribe owns all the lands of the Navajo Reservation, there is no private ownership on the Reservation. This would mean that approval would need to be received from the Tribal Council.

 

Depends. This is how I understand it.

 

You are correct. There is little/no ownership of the land within the reservation. However a Navajo family and/or business can obtain a lease for property on the reservation. They can then build on the property and manage that property. In many ways it is similar to a business leasing property. They do not own the property, however they may dictate what takes place on the property that they lease. A person leasing the property, or managing the hotel could place a cache. There are limitations to what they can do on the property. If one of my friends lived on the reservation wanted to place a cache at his house, or his business that would be appropriate. However walking to a hillside (what would be BLM land here in the west) would be very inappropriate and would require specific approval. Back country trips (leaving roadsides and housing areas) on the reservation normally require permits by those that are not of Navajo lineage , both to control the numbers, damage, keep people from stealing artifacts, and the persons safety.

 

That is my understanding. Though I have not lived there, I went to high school with a large number of Navajo students, and college with with some of them.

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The virtual cache was in a public place that permission is not required to be there.

 

As the guidelines indicate, permission is subject to “local country laws and customs." in this case it is up to the tribal authorities to define. One earthcache centers on a public area. The other is a roadside stop that focuses on sacred land. Is there a difference?

 

The Navajo have given permission to be in certain areas and do not restrict many things (including private photography). The Navajo may have no problem with earthcaches. The owner of the Four Corners virtual certainly understood the tribal policy about caching and apparently believed that this virtual cache was permitted.

 

The nation could adopt a policy like the NPS, which (to my understanding) requires permission even if an earthcache is along a public highway in their jurisdiction. The issue is one for the Navajos to decide. Personally I would not place an earthcache on tribal land - or say that an earthcache should not be placed there - without understanding tribal policy.

 

Some tribes, for instance, require permits for any kind of photography on their land, even on roads with public access. It is possible that these nations would take a very narrow view of earthcaching. But I would make no presumptions without asking first.

Edited by mulvaney
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I will interject a note here.

 

The location at the place of business would be appropriate, people go there for a reason approved by the owner and tribe. The bigger issue would be the stop along the roadside. Without permission for a specific location a person could travel anywhere in the name of "completing the Earthcache requirement". Because we are not from the area, encouraging people to pull over and possibly trespass on property that the Navajo may considered sacred would be inappropriate.

 

Every tribe, and location in the west is different and we do not wish to offend those that do not wish people on their property. I am currently working with the owner to determine if the logging requirements can be reworked from the initial location.

 

We thank those that bring up these issues. Where every state has its own reviewer and knows tribal boundaries, wilderness areas, and specific rules within their boundaries, Earthcache reviewers are far fewer and we cover large areas of the states/world, and we are not as familiar as the local reviewers. I would encourage anyone with a concern to contact the individual that listed the cache with concerns, and have discussions here when needed. We have had a good discussion among the reviewers, GSA, and Groundspeak and most likely that discussion will continue as these pop up.

Edited by geoawareUSA2
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The location at the place of business would be appropriate, people go there for a reason approved by the owner and tribe. The bigger issue would be the stop along the roadside.

 

Of the two earthcaches on Navajo land, this one might have presented less of an issue - if there is an issue at all. Tribal matters are often complex. But to use the NPS analogy (which may not be applicable to tribal policy) would an ec be approved at a place of business within a national park without park approval?

Edited by mulvaney
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Of the two earthcaches on Navajo land, this one might have presented less of an issue - if there is an issue at all. Tribal matters are often complex. But to use the NPS analogy (which may not be applicable to tribal policy) would an ec be approved at a place of business within a national park without park approval?

 

An EarthCache placed at a business within a National Park would require permission from the National Park. The difference here is that National Parks have a blanket policy across all National Parks. Each Reservation, however, has their own policies. For that reason, it was decided to examine these caches on a case by case basis.

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Of the two earthcaches on Navajo land, this one might have presented less of an issue - if there is an issue at all. Tribal matters are often complex. But to use the NPS analogy (which may not be applicable to tribal policy) would an ec be approved at a place of business within a national park without park approval?

 

An EarthCache placed at a business within a National Park would require permission from the National Park. The difference here is that National Parks have a blanket policy across all National Parks. Each Reservation, however, has their own policies. For that reason, it was decided to examine these caches on a case by case basis.

 

I am sorry, but it appears to me that what you wrote is in conflict with what geoawareUSA2 wrote, namely

 

The location at the place of business would be appropriate, people go there for a reason approved by the owner and tribe.

 

I'm not living in the US, so it is not necessary for me to understand the rules applied with regard to earthcaching in the US.

I simply got the feeling that different people write different things here. What your colleague wrote implies in my understanding

that a cache at a business on tribal land is ok in any case.

 

BTW: Personally, I do have troubles anyway to understand the difference between taking a photo as a tourist and taking a photo as

an earthcacher (this even more holds in national parks than on tribal lands).

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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An EarthCache placed at a business within a National Park would require permission from the National Park. The difference here is that National Parks have a blanket policy across all National Parks. Each Reservation, however, has their own policies. For that reason, it was decided to examine these caches on a case by case basis.

 

I am sorry, but it appears to me that what you wrote is in conflict with what geoawareUSA2 wrote, namely

 

The location at the place of business would be appropriate, people go there for a reason approved by the owner and tribe.

 

I'm not living in the US, so it is not necessary for me to understand the rules applied with regard to earthcaching in the US.

I simply got the feeling that different people write different things here. What your colleague wrote implies in my understanding

that a cache at a business on tribal land is ok in any case.

 

BTW: Personally, I do have troubles anyway to understand the difference between taking a photo as a tourist and taking a photo as

an earthcacher (this even more holds in national parks than on tribal lands).

 

Cezanne

 

Sorry for the confusion. Mulvaney was asking if we should treat the Reservations the same as National Parks. Since each Reservation has their own policies, it was not practical to provide a blanket permission policy for all Reservation land. As such, each EarthCache which is submitted on Reservation land will be examined to determine what level of permission is necessary. In this case, geoawareUSA2 is working with the cache owner to ensure this listing meets the policies for the Navajo Reservation land.

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Sorry for the confusion. Mulvaney was asking if we should treat the Reservations the same as National Parks.

 

I did understand him in a different way. As geoawareUSA2 stated that an EC at a business on tribal lands would be ok, Mulvaney raised the same type of question for national parks. It appeared to me that he wanted to show that the same type of argument as applied by geoawareUSA2 with respect to a business cache at tribal lands should also hold for national parks. Either both type of caches are ok, or both need permission.

 

This is independent from the cache that resulted in this thread. Reread the statement of geoawareUSA2. It reads like any EC at a business on tribal lands is ok regardless of the case and regardless of what tribe is concerned.

 

It was not your statement that caused my confusion, rather the one by geoawareUSA2.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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Mulvaney was asking if we should treat the Reservations the same as National Parks. Since each Reservation has their own policies, it was not practical to provide a blanket permission policy for all Reservation land. As such, each EarthCache which is submitted on Reservation land will be examined to determine what level of permission is necessary.

 

I did not mean to imply that there should be a blanket policy for all reservations. Policy differs with each tribe. There are some amazing geological formations on Acoma land, for instance, where permits are required for private photography even if you are simply driving through on a public road. The Navajo do not impose the same kind of restrictions. The two nations could have different policies regarding earthcaches.

 

The post, however, implied that an earthcache centered at a business would not present a problem while one at a roadside (like the "other" active earthcache on Navajo land, which discusses entry points and requires photography) might raise a bigger issue. As far as I know, no one has reported whether the tribal authority made this distinction. A tribe could have no issues with either cache and not want to get involved. They could ask to approve any earthcache on their land (like the NPS). They could welcome earthcaching as a way to bring tourism to the area. They could decide they don't like geologists.

 

In other words, I was trying to ask if they did adopt a policy similar to the NPS, in regard to their reservation, would there be the type of distinction made in the previous post? It is good that the GSA and Groundspeak discussed the issue, and are attempting to narrow one of the earthcaches, but was the tribal authority part of the discussion?

 

As i wrote in a previous post, i would not presume to answer any of these questions. But I would ask those who can. How else do you deternine “local country laws and customs"?

Edited by mulvaney
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Mulvaney was asking if we should treat the Reservations the same as National Parks. Since each Reservation has their own policies, it was not practical to provide a blanket permission policy for all Reservation land. As such, each EarthCache which is submitted on Reservation land will be examined to determine what level of permission is necessary.

 

I did not mean to imply that there should be a blanket policy for all reservations. Policy differs with each tribe. There are some amazing geological formations on Acoma land, for instance, where permits are required for private photography even if you are simply driving through on a public road. The Navajo do not impose the same kind of restrictions. The two nations could have different policies regarding earthcaches.

 

The post, however, implied that an earthcache centered at a business would not present a problem while one at a roadside (like the "other" active earthcache on Navajo land, which discusses entry points and requires photography) might raise a bigger issue. As far as I know, no one has reported whether the tribal authority made this distinction. A tribe could have no issues with either cache and not want to get involved. They could ask to approve any earthcache on their land (like the NPS). They could welcome earthcaching as a way to bring tourism to the area. They could decide they don't like geologists.

 

In other words, I was trying to ask if they did adopt a policy similar to the NPS, in regard to their reservation, would there be the type of distinction made in the previous post? It is good that the GSA and Groundspeak discussed the issue, and are attempting to narrow one of the earthcaches, but was the tribal authority part of the discussion?

 

As i wrote in a previous post, i would not presume to answer any of these questions. But I would ask those who can.

 

I apologize for my wording. "The location at the place of business would be appropriate, people go there for a reason approved by the owner and tribe." Should have read. "The location at THIS place of business...". I was discussing this cache in particular, not issuing blanket policy for all Native American Lands.

 

Native American Nations are just that-individually governed nations. Just as we treat a cache in Romania different than the US or Germany. Each Nation and submission will be looked at. Expect more scrutiny and questions when they fall within tribal lands. If tourists snapping pictures are allowed at a location you stand a far higher chance to be approved than a cache at a location where those activities are not allowed. (Note do not interject commentary on the photo requirements, this is just an example)

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So, did the Navajo Tribe give their consent to having EC/regular caches placed on their lands? The Tribe owns all the lands of the Navajo Reservation, there is no private ownership on the Reservation. This would mean that approval would need to be received from the Tribal Council.

 

Depends. This is how I understand it.

 

You are correct. There is little/no ownership of the land within the reservation. However a Navajo family and/or business can obtain a lease for property on the reservation. They can then build on the property and manage that property. In many ways it is similar to a business leasing property. They do not own the property, however they may dictate what takes place on the property that they lease. A person leasing the property, or managing the hotel could place a cache. There are limitations to what they can do on the property. If one of my friends lived on the reservation wanted to place a cache at his house, or his business that would be appropriate. However walking to a hillside (what would be BLM land here in the west) would be very inappropriate and would require specific approval. Back country trips (leaving roadsides and housing areas) on the reservation normally require permits by those that are not of Navajo lineage , both to control the numbers, damage, keep people from stealing artifacts, and the persons safety.

 

That is my understanding. Though I have not lived there, I went to high school with a large number of Navajo students, and college with with some of them.

 

So the question becomes - "Does the Tribe allow caching on the Reservation? (yes or no)" If someone is allowed to place a cache on the Tribal lands (lease holder, etc.) but the Tribe still forbids caching (looking for the cache) on their lands, someone could in effect have the GPSr and/or more confiscated for "caching" on Tribal lands.

 

This is why cachers need to know what the Tribal stance is on caching on Navajo lands.

 

John

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So the question becomes - "Does the Tribe allow caching on the Reservation? (yes or no)" If someone is allowed to place a cache on the Tribal lands (lease holder, etc.) but the Tribe still forbids caching (looking for the cache) on their lands, someone could in effect have the GPSr and/or more confiscated for "caching" on Tribal lands.

 

This is why cachers need to know what the Tribal stance is on caching on Navajo lands.

 

As we talk here about Earthcaches (that is containerless caches) the key question rather seems to be what the tribe thinks about using a GPS-r on their lands. Actually, I have used quite often a GPS-r when I was not caching (e.g. for navigating to some places I selected on a map or that have been recommended to me by someone else, or for recording the coordinates of a location for later usage) and I am often caching without a GPS-r.

 

Cezanne

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Expect more scrutiny and questions when they fall within tribal lands.

 

Without trying to be too repetitious or pesky, wouldn't it be easier (and better) to simply ask the tribal authority if they require approval for any earthcache developed on their land -- rather than trying to figure it out for them? Isn't that what the GSA and Groundspeak did when they approached the NPS to bring them into this game?

 

This discussion started with a question that asked whether any earthcache on tribal land should be listed. The earthcache in question apparently is being redeveloped so that people would not make a roadside stop. The other earthcache on Navajo land appears to take you to a BIA road a little deeper into Navajo country, at least in the way it discusses entry points. So instead of trying to make distinctions, draw fine lines, apply an inconsistent judgment, or ask questions that neither party may know the answer, why not go to the source and find out if the particular tribe wants to adopt a general policy that would apply to all earthcaches within their boundaries? The Navajo even have a parks and recreation office that might handle such questions. Even if they do not want to be involved with individual earthcaches, they might be able to suggest guidelines that would inform the decisions of reviewers.

 

When an earthcache is proposed on tribal land, I would think that the first question would be whether the tribe itself requires permission for any earthcache that is listed on their land. Some may want to do this. Others may not. Only by answering this do you reach the second question - whether the location for a particular earthcache is appropriate. But again, how are you going to determine tribal policy ("local country laws and customs") unless you actually ask the tribe?

 

The Navajo rules for visitors appear to be very reasonable. I doubt that there would be problem if you are in an area that does not require Navajo guides, take you off road or off trail, involve sensitive environmental or archaeological areas, or disturb the Navajo people. Thus, I hope that the Navajo would have no problem with listing either earthcache on their land, and not require special permission. They might even support earthcaching as an educational activity that helps the tourist economy in some way. Neither earthcache seems like it would present a problem to me -- although the second one respectfully focuses on a sacred formation so perhaps there are other considerations at play.

 

As you point out, each reservation is different. Even if the Navajo have no problem with earthcaching, the answer might be different with tribes such as the Acoma or Hopi. But when I have worked with Native Americans, the protocol has been to ask first -- so that is where I would start, at least in regard to a general policy affecting any earthcache proposal.

Edited by mulvaney
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So the question becomes - "Does the Tribe allow caching on the Reservation? (yes or no)" If someone is allowed to place a cache on the Tribal lands (lease holder, etc.) but the Tribe still forbids caching (looking for the cache) on their lands, someone could in effect have the GPSr and/or more confiscated for "caching" on Tribal lands.

 

This is why cachers need to know what the Tribal stance is on caching on Navajo lands.

 

As we talk here about Earthcaches (that is containerless caches) the key question rather seems to be what the tribe thinks about using a GPS-r on their lands. Actually, I have used quite often a GPS-r when I was not caching (e.g. for navigating to some places I selected on a map or that have been recommended to me by someone else, or for recording the coordinates of a location for later usage) and I am often caching without a GPS-r.

 

Cezanne

 

If a cop stops you and issues a citation and you ask why you are getting a ticket, he may reply that you are not getting a ticket only a summons to visit the local judge. Citation, ticket, or summons is only splitting hairs just and saying it's an earthcache and not a 'real' cache'. To the officer, caching is caching regardless of the type of cache being hunted.

 

To clarify my earlier post about the landowner allowing the cache, consider this - If you own property in the city of Page, Arizona and you give someone permission to set off fireworks on your property, what will the City have to say about it? The city prohibits using fireworks inside the city, so guess who gets the tickets, you for giving permission, the one using the fireworks, or both?

 

John

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So, did the Navajo Tribe give their consent to having EC/regular caches placed on their lands? The Tribe owns all the lands of the Navajo Reservation, there is no private ownership on the Reservation. This would mean that approval would need to be received from the Tribal Council.

Is this the correct interpretation of your post?

John

 

The cache in question is being addressed. If permissions are not established then the scope of the cache itself will change.

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