sign of appreciation
Arnold Engineering Development Center Commander Col. Art Huber presents a commander’s coin to Tim Thompson of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma during his visit to the center. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)
American Indian conference held at Arnold

by Janaé Daniels

5/14/2009 - Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. -- Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) hosted several representatives from American Indian Nations, Tribes and Tribal Towns last week. The purpose of the visit was a government-to-government meeting to discuss the management of cultural resources at Arnold Air Force Base. 
According to Shawn Chapman, base archeologist, Arnold consults with 16 federally recognized American Indian Nations, Tribes and Tribal Towns about the center's cultural resources. 
"Representatives from most of these have been here before over the past six years," Chapman said. "There have been two meetings of this sort here previously and there have been visits by individual tribal representatives within that time frame as well." 
Chapman said, "In addition, the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma has hosted two meetings in Ada, Okla., for us to meet with all the consulting tribes." 
Chapman says all entities in charge of federal lands are required by law to consult with interested American Indian tribes concerning the management of cultural resources, including archaeological sites and artifacts, located on that property. 
According to Chapman, consultation at Arnold was initiated in 2004, marking the first such meeting between the center and a Native American tribe. Since then, 16 tribes have continued to show interest in the cultural heritage the center is entrusted with here. 
All of these tribes have a tie to the land that Arnold now occupies and either claimed this land as part of their original territory or as hunting grounds before they were removed in the 1830s. 
"We incorporate the tribes input and concerns into our management strategies that involve things like archaeological sites, as we try to be good stewards of the land," Chapman said.