We think of the National Park Service (NPS) as the guardian of our most spectacular natural treasures and the steward of geographic focal points in our history, but the service’s influence often reaches well beyond these responsibilities to help others join in these preservation efforts. That’s what happened today when NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the apportionment of more than $4.1 million in grants to 135 American Indian tribes to support Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, as he can do under the National Historic Preservation Act.
The act (P.L. 102-575) allows federally recognized Indian tribes to take on formal responsibility for the preservation of significant historic properties on tribal lands. As participants in the program, tribes can identify and maintain an inventory of culturally significant properties, nominate these properties to national and tribal registers of historic places, conduct reviews of federal agency projects on tribal lands, and conduct educational programs on the importance of preserving historic properties.
The NPS awards annual grants to these tribes to assist in carrying out these responsibilities on tribal lands.
A total of 135 tribes will receive grants ranging in size from about $25,000 to more than $40,000, which they can use to fund a wide variety of projects: nominations of properties to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education, architectural planning, historic structure reports, community preservation plans, and bricks-and-mortar repair to buildings.
Grant funds come from revenues from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. These funds can help tribes attract non-federal and private investment in historic preservation efforts nationwide.
“The participation of American Indians in the national historic preservation program is highly significant in the evolution of this important nationwide effort,” Director Jarvis said. “Increased attention to the preservation of significant tribal places, as well as tribal culture and tradition, is important to all Americans and this grant program provides much needed funding to protect the cultures of America’s first peoples.”
See the complete list of tribes and the level of grant funding provided to each.