A local Lac du Flambeau Tribal member has journeyed to Washington, D.C., where she will not only represent her own tribe, but those across the nation as well.

Melinda Young has been with the LdF Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) since 2000 and served as the Tribal Historic Preservation officer since 2010. Born and raised in LdF, she’s spent most of her life in historic preservation. 

“It’s not just about me, or even my tribe,” Young said. “What we do is important for all of Indian Country as a whole. This is a legacy. (Tribes) have a language, a way of life, culture. We want to protect these and those places that are important for our people and our ancestors.”

On Oct. 1, Young assumed the position of interim director at the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO). She takes over for Bambi Kraus, who recommended Young over 183 THPOs nationwide. LdF THPO has been a member of NATHO since its founding in 1998.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Young observed. “I’m so honored to have this opportunity, and I’m fortunate to have my tribe and my community supporting me.”

Young noted she was flattered Kraus selected her over all the other candidates. 

Day to day, Young will work with other THPOs, partners with the organizations as well as work on legislation that impacts Native American culture and history. She’ll also work with the National Parks Service (NPS).

“My goal is all about tribal preservation,” Young said. “I become the conduit between tribes and the NPS.”

Young will work to protect sacred spaces — be it national monuments, parks or burial sites. 

The position is currently temporary, and Young plans to return home when the year is out. 

“This is the next big step for me,” Young noted of the challenge. She looks forward to the behind the scenes of the NATHO, the foundation and groundwork and networking. “I’m excited to see how that all works.”

Learn more about LdF THPO at www.ldftribe.com/departments/31/Tribal_Operations/Tribal_Historic_Preservation_Office.html.