A plan to preserve the sea island culture of slave descendants along Georgia's coast is nearing completion after years of work.
The National Park Service's Gullah-Geechee coordinator Michael Allen says, the management plan will go up for public comment next month and could gain approval this year after a decade of work.
"We began a special resource study in 2000, just to find out what Gullah what Geechee is, what is a threat and what the future may look like. So this is a 12-year dream."
The culture is known as Gullah in the Carolinas and Geechee in Georgia and Florida.
The proposal includes education plans, documenting cultural sites and building economic development.
"At its core this reflects on the life and history, characters and legacy of people that were brought to the shores of the new world enslaved," Allen says. "Their presence helped to build a nation, so that's why this is an American story."
The Gullah-Geechee have preserved a culture based on farming and fishing with their own creole language, cooking and arts like weaving sweetgrass baskets.
Scholars warn the culture is threatened both by coastal development and modern media that make even those in the culture lose contact with their roots.