Representatives from the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) in a ceremony Tuesday.
The signing ceremony was followed by a flag-raising prayer and ceremony at the County Administration Building in Littleton.
The County said it has been working with the Northern Arapaho for more than a year on formalizing the relationship between the two entities. This is the first time the relationship between the County and Tribe has been reaffirmed in about 20 years, said Arapahoe County in a news release.
"It’s an honor to be here to do this historical signing," Tribal elder Ben Ridgley said. "We know from our oral histories that this is our ancestral land, and also our homeland, so it’s very meaningful to be here at this moment."
"We’ve been wanting to establish better ties with descendants of our area's original inhabitants for some time, and this agreement increases communication and offers more opportunities for all of us to work together on any number of issues," said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson.
Later this year, the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners will visit the Northern Arapaho’s home in Wyoming and the County will participate in the Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run.
According to Arapahoe County, the partnership will encourage:
- Cultural exchanges.
- Educational opportunities around the Tribe’s and Arapahoe County’s history.
- Honoring of Tribal contributions and sacrifices.
- Consultation of the Arapaho about visual representations of the County and its history.
- County advocacy around legislative issues that affect Native American peoples.
- Collaboration to establish Tribal representation at County events, where appropriate.
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