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Tribal Historic Preservation Programs

Tribal Historic Preservation Officers

Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) are officially designated by a federally-recognized Indian tribe to direct a program approved by the National Park Service and the THPO must have assumed some or all of the functions of State Historic Preservation Officers on Tribal lands. This program was made possible by the provisions of Section 101(d)(2) of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Before a Tribe may assume the functions of a State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Historic Preservation Act requires Tribes to submit a formal plan to the National Park Service describing how the proposed Tribal Historic Preservation Officer functions will be carried out.

Developing a Tribal Historic Preservation Plan

List of California's Tribal Historic Preservation Officers

Other Lists of THPOs in California
National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers
National Park Service


Public Comments Sought on CEQA / AB52 Related Document
The Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recently released a discussion draft technical advisory for tribal cultural resources and CEQA (AB 52) for 30 days of public comment. Additional information and resources are below. Please submit all comments on the discussion draft technical advisory by June 1, 2015, to

Discussion Draft AB 52 Technical Advisory

AB 52 (Gatto, 2014)

OPR Tribal Consultation Guidelines - Supplement to General Plan Guidelines

Presentation on Tribal Cultural Resources and CEQA

Flow Chart of Consultation Notice and Timing

To be added to the OPR CEQA Guidelines Update Listserv, please sign up here.

New Tool in the Efforts to Protect Sacred Sites
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) has released a new publication: Preserving Native American Places: A Guide to Federal Laws and Policies that Help Protect Cultural Resources and Sacred Sites. The guide is designed to assist tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations in their efforts to protect sites of cultural, historical, and religious significance. Visit the NTHP website to learn more and download a copy of the publication.

Tribes Consulted on CHRIS Access Policy
In November and December of 2014, The Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) hosted four regional public meetings throughout the state to gain input regarding Native American Tribal access to cultural resource information maintained by the California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS). A teleconference was also conducted and comments were accepted in writing as well. For more information about this effort and how the feedback collected will assist the policy effort as it goes forward, please visit our CHRIS Tribal Access Policy page.

Historical Landmark Dedication at Tomo-Kahni
On October 18, 2014, California State Parks and the Nüwa (Kawaiisu) community commemorated Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park’s 20th anniversary and its designation as California Historical Landmark No. 1054. The day’s events included Nüwa storytelling, interactive American Indian lifeways demonstrations, and the dedication of the new Landmark plaque. The dedication ceremony for the plaque included a Nüwa Indian blessing and ceremonial drumming, as well as speeches by State Parks officials and former state senator Phil Wyman. Also present were representatives of the Native Sons of the Golden West, the organization that helped fund the new plaque as part of the 150th anniversary of California State Parks. The plaque commemorates the Kawaiisu rock art site that overlooks the Sand Canyon region known as Tomo-Kahni–“Winter Village”–of the Kawaiisu.

NPS Awards Tribal Heritage Grants for 2014
The National Park Service, through their Tribal Preservation Program, awarded Tribal Heritage Grants to 18 American Indian tribes (including three California tribes) and Alaskan Native organizations. Grants are given to assist in preserving and protecting cultural sites and traditions. Click here to learn more about the program and to see a list of the 2014 grantees.