Native folkways and female role models: The career journey of District Manager Angelita Bulletts
The below story is part of a Women's History Month series, which tells the stories of some of the women who have helped shape the Bureau of Land Management's mission, vision and values for more than a century. This story profiles Angelita (Angie) Bulletts, the first female BLM District Manager who is Native American.
Angelita Bulletts, the Bureau of Land Management's first Native American district manager, learned many things while being raised in a small community on the Kaibab Indian Reservation in northernmost Arizona. She carries on the tradition of Paiute cradleboard making, and she is also a master beadworker. In addition to making traditional beaded dresses, buckskin beaded vests, moccasins, and gloves for members of her family, Angie was invited to participate in the Smithsonian’s 2005 Folklife Festival.
Helping to sustain these folkways has, in turn, shaped how Angie approaches her service as the BLM’s Southern Nevada District Manager. Critically, she is committed to integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into land management decision-making—for example, by using controlled burns to mitigate fire risks.
“Our stories tell us how important fire is and how powerful fire is,” Angie said in a recent oral-history interview. These stories suggest how you can “scare fire,” or prevent mega-fires, by resorting to the “deep use of fire to manage ecosystems.”
Angie also stresses the importance of having female role models in careers centering on public lands. In particular, she credits Jill Leonard, a former U.S. Forest Service North Kaibab District Ranger, for her early encouragement and support.
“Angie, you can do and be anything you want to be and you have insight with people that I have never seen before,” Jill told her.
“That gave me the confidence to say I can take a leap and do this,” Angie said. “I tell her I have this wonderful experience in my career because of her.”
In introducing Angie as district manager, BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby noted her prior service in two departments and three agencies, her familiarity with the ecosystems of the arid Southwest and with wildland/urban interfaces, and her passion for educating young people about public land management.
With everything she brings to the table—her training in anthropology, the breadth and depth of the experience she’s had with the land since childhood, and the multifaceted natural resource work she’s done with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Forest Service, and now the BLM—Angie Bulletts is clearly a woman making history.
Bulletts, Angelita. ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW. Transcript of recorded Interview conducted by Paul Hirt, Arizona State University, and Jennifer Sweeney, Four East Historical Research, LLC, on February 5, 2020, at St. George, Utah. Edited by Paul Hirt and Jennifer Sweeney.
Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service. “Faces of the Forest Service: Meet Angelita Bulletts.” November 20, 2014.