November is Native American Heritage Month

NativeAmerican HeritageMonth

Submitted by George Garnett, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests


Native American Heritage Month is observed during the month of November. The USDA Forest Service recognizes the month of November because of its relationship with Native Americans and neighboring tribes. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “Native American Heritage Month.”

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests values all Native American employees and has a connection with Tribal entities. For the month of November, the forest service would like to recognize Margaret Cisco; who was born on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, next to the Apache Reservation south of Show Low, Arizona. Margaret has been working for the USDA Forest Service at the Apache-Sitgreaves Headquarters for 39 years.

Presently Margaret works as a Purchasing Agent, but she began her journey with the USDA Forest Service working part-time in high-school with the Young Adults Conservation Corps (YACC) during summer months. While Margaret was in high-school, she’d walk from Round-Valley High-School in Eagar to the Supervisor’s Office which was located on Main Street in Springerville. USDA Forest Headquarters is now located on Chiricahua. Margaret was extremely happy to receive the opportunity to work for the USDA Forest Service. Margaret’s older brother and sister also received job opportunities with the USDA Forest Service right out of high school.

Margaret Cisco

Margaret Cisco - Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests


Margaret has also had the opportunity to work on wildfires for the USDA Forest Service throughout the country with the Southwest Buying Team. This has given her the opportunity to work in the other states of: Texas, Idaho, Florida, Alaska, California and Oregon. She normally works with the buying team on wildfires at least one to four times per year.

When Margaret first started working with the USDA Forest Service she was a quiet and shy individual, not knowing how people would accept her as a Native American. However, as time passed by, she became more confident with her co-workers who have helped her break out of her shell. Everyone she’s met working for the USDA Forest Service has helped her gain her confidence and self-respect. “Everyone has treated me with respect,” Margaret says.  

Margaret likes working for the USDA Forest Service so much that, she hasn’t really thought much about retirement. However; when asked, she said, “This would give me the opportunity to spend more time with my one little granddaughter; who’s only five years old, and my father who is getting up in years while I take advantage of my retirement.” Margaret has been happily married to her husband Leroy, for 34 years and she also has two beautiful daughters and one little granddaughter.

When Margaret was asked what she'd like to do if she could do anything with the USDA Forest Service; she replied, "I love what I'm doing!" Her fondest memory with the Forest Service was when she was sent on an assignment to Alaska. She adds, "Anyone who's been to Alaska will tell you, it's like no other place you've ever seen before!"

The USDA Forest Service manages national forest system lands all across the country, and is entrusted to care for the land to benefit the public, while respecting the special trust relationship of the United States government towards Indian Tribes.

Read more about the USDA Forest Service's relationship with its Tribal Partners at: