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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

Native American Involvement in the Section 106 Process


News from the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs

California Tribes Receive Historic Preservation Grants
Two California tribes, the Karuk Tribe and the Tejon Indian Tribe, were among sixteen tribes nationwide awarded 2016 Historic Preservation Fund Grants (Tribal Heritage Grants) from the National Park Service (NPS). The grants will support projects that preserve and protect native cultures and resources. Visit the NPS Tribal Heritage Grants webpage for information about the grant program and to see a list of the awarded tribes and projects.

NPS Announces New Federal Rules for Tribal Plant Gathering
On July 12, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) announced new federal rules for tribal plant gathering. The rule authorizes agreements between the National Park Service and federally recognized tribes that will facilitate the continuation of tribal cultural practices on lands within areas of the National Park System where those practices traditionally occurred, without causing significant adverse impact to park resources or values. This rule respects those tribal cultural practices, furthers the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the tribes, and provides sytem-wide consistency for this aspect of National Park Service-tribal relations. Click here to view and download the text of the new rules.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Signs Important Agreement with Dept of the Interior
On April 21, 2016, the Department of the Interior announced that an agreement had been signed with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California, along with the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, to reduce fractionation in Indian Country through implementation of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. Read the full announcement here. 

Historic Agreement Signed to Protect Cultural Sites
On Monday, December 21, 2015, officials representing three Lake County Indian tribes and county officials signed a first-of-its-kind local agreement that will improve the protection of tribal artifacts and cultural resources within the ancient Clear Lake basin. Click here to read the full story.

NSF Grant to Help Preserve Hupa Language
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Documenting Endangered Languages Program recently awarded a $245,000 grant to Justin Spence, associate professor at University of California Davis (UCD), to research, document, and preserve the language of the Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California. Spence, who is also director of the UCD Native American Language Center, will work with Hupa tribal members to preserve, digitize, and transcribe audio and video archives, and make them available to scholars and, most importantly, to the Hupa Valley Tribe as they work to bring the language back into use.
Click here to read the full story.

New Documents Regarding the Protection of Sacred Sites
From the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Office of Native American Affairs comes an announcement of the release of two documents related to the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indian Sacred Sites. As explained by the ACHP, the first document “is a policy statement addressing the need for federal agencies to be sensitive to tribal concerns about the confidentiality of certain information. The second is an information paper aimed at the general public and state and local agencies to help them understand the importance of protecting Indian sacred sites.” The two documents can be viewed by clicking the links below. Additional information about the documents and about the MOU regarding protection of Indian sacred sites can be found on the ACHP website.

Sacred Sites MOU Confidentiality Policy Statement
Sacred Sites Protection General Information

New Funding for Tribal Education
On June 9, 2015, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Director Dr. Charles M. Roessel to announce important funding to help further the Department of the Interior's goal to improve the quality of education students receive at tribal schools funded by the BIE and increase access to higher education. Central to this effort will be the transfer of control of BIE-funded schools from the BIE to the tribes the schools serve. Visit the BIE website to learn more about this new funding.

Facebook Page for Native American Youth
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) Office of Native American Affairs recently launched a new Facebook page: Preservation Indigenous - Native Youth. As described by the ACHP, "the page connects American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth to information and opportunities related to historic and cultural preservation, and to career and educational opportunities."

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.