Who should manage public land that is sacred to Native Americans?
That is the question that the United States government and some states hope recent policy changes will address by giving Indigenous people greater input into managing such land. Co-management, as the policy is called, might alleviate the frictionthat emerges when sacred landscapes are managed without Native American input.
Mauna Kea, a 13,802-foot dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, is one example. The mountain is managed as public land by the state of Hawaii. Native Hawaiians have protested the state’s management of Mauna Kea for decades, saying Hawaii has allowed too many research buildings on their sacred mountain, which disrupts their ability to practice their religion.
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