Ranger Kelkiyana Yazzie recognized for promoting Indigenous voices at Grand Canyon
GRAND CANYON — Ranger Kelkiyana Yazzie has been awarded the 2022 Interpretation and Resource Education (IRE) Staff Person of the Year Award at Grand Canyon National Park. The award recognized Yazzie’s outstanding efforts in promoting and elevating Indigenous voices at the park.
“It’s integral that our tribal communities - our people, our heritage, our history, are all authentically and respectfully represented in a federal agency and on native lands where our voices have been nearly non-existent since the creation of the National Park Service,” Yazzie said. “I’m thankful for all the support along the way from my colleagues, friends, and relatives to help elevate Indigenous narratives at Grand Canyon. I hope more acknowledgment and appreciation for Indigenous peoples’ lived experiences and ancestral ties to our living landscape continues everywhere.”
Yazzie, who started working at Grand Canyon National Park in September 2021 as a transfer student employee from Navajo National Monument, has been instrumental in developing programs for the public and park staff focused on Indigenous connections and traditional knowledge of the canyon, the organization said.
In 2021, she was earning a Master of Science degree through Northern Arizona University’s online Parks and Recreation Management (PRM) program within the Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation.
In February 2022, she was officially named a permanent Grand Canyon National Park Ranger. Since then she has also served as a mentor to many employees, interns and volunteers across the National Park Service.
Yazzie’s work and dedication to equity and inclusion within the National Park Service have made her an inspiration and leader for education and interpretation at Grand Canyon National Park, the park said.
As the fourth generation of her family to work as an NPS employee, Yazzie has become a trailblazer for others to follow.
“Ranger Yazzie serves as an inspiration for equity and inclusion within the National Park Service and she serves as a leader for education and interpretation at Grand Canyon.” the park said. The Grand Canyon award recognizes Yazzie’s outstanding efforts in promoting and elevating Indigenous voices at the park.