Federal Agency Implementation Of NAGPRA

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This study was undertaken to prepare a substantive foundation for assessing the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and identifying where improvements might be made.

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Tribal Consultation:
Best Practices in Historic Preservation

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The Best Practices project was an endeavor of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (NATHPO) in collaboration with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and with funding from the National Park Service (NPS).  The goal of the project was to identify a best practices model for consultation between Federal Agencies and Tribes on Section 106 consultation of the National Historic Preservation Act, implementing 43 C.F.R. Part 800.

The project surveyed the consultation experiences of actual participants.  All Federal Preservation Officers and federally-recognized Tribes were contacted by the project and asked to identify successful consultations, the participants, and the aspects of the enterprise that they deemed led to a successful result.  In addition, the respondents were queried on how they measured success.  Participants were asked to identify events occurring after the 1992 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which enhanced the Tribal role in historic preservation and created the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) program.  The results of the survey were charted and analyzed in an effort to distill the characteristics of successful consultation and to offer a best practices model for successful consultation in the implementation of Section 106. 

Two methods were used to analyze the data:  hypothesis testing and Boolean analysis.  Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs), State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and others primarily involved in historic preservation were interviewed prior to the survey in order to devise the questions for the survey and obtain baseline assumptions about consultation.  The survey data was used to test the validity of those assumptions.  Boolean analysis was also employed to discern the formula for a successful consultation.  This analysis relied upon the frequency of reported criteria for consultation.  Through the analysis a best practices model for consultation between Federal Agencies and Tribes began to emerge.

Some assumptions about successful consultation were consistent with the survey data.  For example, consultation must occur early in the project planning process, both sides must plan ahead for meetings and be informed of the project scope and effect prior to attempting consultation, the parties must engage in a dialogue predicated on mutual respect and understanding of the priorities of the other and the challenges that each face, having a THPO and an Agency Tribal Liaison involved in the process contributes to success, as does having adequate funding for Tribal parties to travel to meetings, and for Agency and Tribal participants to view the site together.  On the other hand, reaching a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was rarely seen as the indicator of success.  Both Tribes and Agencies agreed that building relationships is the goal of a successful consultation and that funds and time spent in consultation reap ongoing benefits and efficiencies for future projects.  Although congenial personalities make consultation pleasant, the process is bigger than an individual interaction and can indeed be institutionalized and replicated over time.  

Helpful Links:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

National Park Service

Report of the NATHPO Tribal Tourism TOolkit Project: Cultural and Heritage Tourism in Indian Country

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“Cultural and Heritage Tourism in Indian Country: Report of the NATHPO Tribal Tourism Toolkit Project,” was conceived by the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers because of the need to protect Native America’s sacred places in ways that are compatible with the need for economic development in Indian country.  This report covers three diverse tribal pilot projects conducted over two years as a test of NATHPO’s Tribal Tourism Toolkit.  The results of this project will guide the development of a second edition of the Toolkit and direct support of new tribal tourism initiatives across Indian country.  The NATHPO Tribal Tourism Toolkit was designed for use at the grassroots tribal level, especially for those tribal communities that are still planning tourism initiatives and those with a need to coordinate existing tourism products and services for marketing purposes. The results of this project indicate a need for technical assistance and support necessary to facilitate cultural heritage and nature-based tourism.  For the original Toolkit, please see below.

Tribal Tourism Toolkit for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial and Other Tribal Opportunites

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Helpful Links:  
Administration for Native Americans
*Special* Live Internet Guide for Financial and Technical Assistance

National Trust for Historic Preservation, "Cultural Resources On The Bureau of Land Management Public Lands"

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In May 2006, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a new study on the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM manages over 260 million acres of federal land, primarily in the eleven western states and Alaska. These lands contain the largest, most diverse and scientifically important body of cultural resources managed by any federal agency. Ranging from prehistoric cliff dwellings, rock art and sacred sites of continuing significance to Native Americans, to historic mining structures and ranches, cultural resources managed by BLM represent the tangible remains of over 13,000 years of human adaptation on the North American continent. Over 278,000 cultural properties have been recorded on BLM land, a fraction of the 4 to 4.5 million estimated to exist. A variety of factors currently threaten these resources, including inadequate information about the location, condition and significance of sites, insufficient funding to identify, evaluate and protect them and activities like oil and gas development and motorized recreation. BLM also faces significant challenges in monitoring and protecting cultural resources from theft, looting, inadvertent destruction and the forces of nature.

To read the report, click here.

National Trust for Historic Preservation, "The National Forest System: Cultural Resources at Risk"

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According to the National Trust's report, The National Forest System: Cultural Resources at Risk, over three hundred thousand places of landmark historic or cultural significance, including Native American sacred sites and Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields, are at risk of ruin. The report states that historic and cultural resources throughout the National Forest System are threatened by grazing, logging, mining, off-highway vehicles, insufficient funding and the lack of political will on the part of senior agency officials to protect them.  Although some of the nine Forest Service regions have taken steps to comply with federal directives to preserve our nation's heritage, the Forest Service as a whole "regularly chafes" at laws that interfere with the management of timber and watersheds˜the agency's original mandate from Congress.

The report also states that of the approximately 325,000 identified sites with historic or cultural significance in the National Forest System, 200,000 have never been evaluated to determine their eligibility for listing in the National Register, and only 2,000 have actually been listed.  Additionally, only 20 percent of Forest Service lands have been surveyed for historic and cultural resources.

Because historic and cultural resources are a low priority within the agency, and the Forest Service lacks the legal mandate and staff to protect them, the report strongly recommends that Congress should explicitly direct the Forest Service to manage national forests not only for timber and watersheds, but also for the protection of historic and cultural resources.  In all, the report makes eleven recommendations to improve the Forest Service's ability to protect historic and cultural sites, which date from prehistoric times and include historic farmsteads, trails used by the Lewis and Clark expedition, fire lookout towers and ranger cabins.   

To read the report, click here.

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