Regina Meyer: National Guard’s resident archeologist
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Since 2000, Regina Meyer has served as the Indiana Jones of the Missouri National Guard.
As the organization’s only archeologist, Meyer is charged with digging up Missouri’s natural artifacts, protecting those assets and educating others on the value of those resources.
Meyer’s office provides cultural resources awareness, historic preservation, Native American consultation and archaeology. But, it is the public outreach with the communities that promotes the National Guard and what it does to preserve Missouri’s history.
“Cultural resources can always be positive publicity,” Meyer said. “It’s a good story. Everyone finds archeology interesting. And, if it’s done the right way, it’s always positive.”
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) feels Meyer is doing her job the right way. They recently awarded Meyer the first place NGB Cultural Resource Environment Security Award. Additionally, Meyer won second runner-up for Big Army.
One of the key points in the awards was the Native American consultation program. The program started 13 years ago to reach out to the Native American community in order to preserve some of the culture found on Missouri National Guard bases and to comply with federal regulations.
Not only has Meyer helped Missouri’s Guardsmen understand more about the history, she has helped 32 tribes. Meyer coordinates with the different tribes, state and federal agencies to conduct consultation workshops to help establish government-to-government program best practices. The meetings have resulted in better standardization practices for sacred sites and access to historical, Native American grounds.
Meyer also teaches kids across Missouri about Native American language.
“I’ve gone to several schools and read stories in English, then let them listen to it in the Native American Kaw language to give the kids the perspective,” Meyer said. “I teach them that these are Native Americans from our land. It’s further education to let them know about archeology, Native Americans, history and how different it is. It shows them the other side and what is out there.”
“I love my career,” added the 45-year archeology veteran. “I love what I mastered in. I love the work I do. I love the law. And, I love challenges. So, you put all of that together, and you can create a great program. We’ve been lucky that it has all fallen into place. ”
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