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American Indian / Alaska Native Emphasis Program (AIAN)

Kirt Peterson, (509) 924-7350   ext. 123
Washington's American Indian / Alaskan Native Program Manager

Kirt Peterson

Hello!  My name is Kirt Peterson and I’m proud to be Washington State’s American Indian/Alaskan Native Special Emphasis Program Manager. 

This role is particularly close to my heart having family from the Blackfeet and Cree Nations.  My parents grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation and eventually went to work for Indian Health Service in South Dakota.  From South Dakota I enjoyed life, went on to several colleges across several sates (for the adventure as much as the education at times) and eventually found my way to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

My hobbies seem to change with age but lately woodworking and cooking have been the focus.  I make it up to Browning, Montana (near Glacier Park) at least once a year to enjoy the beauty and culture.  I love the story telling, the sweat lodge, the fish and game, and the rugged reality of harsh but beautiful mountains.  In the meantime, if there’s anything I can help you with during my tenure as the AIAN SEPM please let me know.  Thanks!


Program Goals:

  • Recruitment and retention of AI/AN employees with WA NRCS.

  • Promote awareness of AI/AN contributions to conservation ethic thru AI Heritage Month activities.

  • Inform WA NRCS and partners about AI/AN promotional activities.

 November is the AIAN Celebrated Month

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994. 

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  • Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House.
  • With 29 Federally Recognized Tribes in WA there are 29 sovereign nations in WA !  (WA Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs link to WA Directory of Tribes)

Specialty items of interest


Related Links:

  • (American Indian/Alaska Native Employee Association website)
    An association of NRCS employees, retirees and friends which advocates for services to reservations and Indian Lands, promotes the recruitment, retention and professional development of American Indian and Alaska Native employees.