November 13, 2020 – In observance of November as Native American Heritage Month, the National Park Service Tribal Historic Preservation Program announces a major milestone as the 200th Tribal Historic Preservation Agreement has been signed. The agreement with the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony, Nevada, completed in July 2020, was the 200th such agreement signed by the National Park Service since the program’s inception in 1992. In the last year, the program facilitated agreements with six Tribes who will assume tribal historic preservation responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act, including the Paiute-Shoshone. The others include the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, California; the Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; the Delaware Tribe of Indians, Kansas; the Walker River Paiute Tribe of the Walker River Reservation, Nevada; and the Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma.
In 1992, Congress amended the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to establish the Tribal Historic Preservation Program. The National Park Service, on behalf of the Secretary of Interior, administers this program and enters into agreements with tribes who choose to take on historic preservation responsibilities that would otherwise belong to state historic preservation offices. In the past 28 years, great strides have been made to preserve and protect historic properties, places, landscapes, and sacred spaces on tribal lands. The number of Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) agreements has grown from 12 in 1996 to 200 in 2020, marking over 64.5 million acres under the jurisdiction of THPOs.
Each year, as new THPOs enter into partnership agreements with the National Park Service, the number of educational programs, survey and inventory activities, preservation plans, and collaborations between federal, state, and community preservation partners increases exponentially. Over the years, support and feedback from tribal partners has allowed the program to expand and evolve. With 574 federally recognized tribes, continued engagement with tribal partners supports many potential new THPO programs.
For more information about the Tribal Historic Preservation Program, visit the program website: nps.gov/thpoprogram.
Photographed, left to right: Mary Barger (Logan Simpson); Misty Benner (Walker River Paiute Tribe); Will Russell (Logan Simpson) Rochanne Downs (Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe), Melissa Openhein (Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Indian Reservation); David Lewandowski (Logan Simpson); Garry Cantley (Bureau of Indian Affairs); Kami Miller (Moapa Band of Paiute Indians); Chairman Rupert Steele (Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Indian Reservation); Jewel Touchin (Logan Simpson); Michon Eben (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony); Scott Nebesky (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony); Jamie-Lee Marks (National Park Service). Thank you to the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe for hosting the workshop at their conference center.