Over the last 500 years, Indian cultures have experienced massive destruction, but the tide is changing. Indian tribes are using their resources to halt the loss of language, tradition, religion, objects, and sites. Fundamentally different in character from other components of American society, Indian tribes are living cultures that can continue and be strengthened only through the perpetuation of their traditions. Tribes, therefore, are reintroducing ceremonies, teaching languages, and seeking the culturally appropriate treatment of tribal objects and sites. These activities are not peripheral to tribal life; they are basic to healthy contemporary tribal societies.
Who We Are
The National Park Service (NPS) Tribal Preservation Program assists Indian tribes in preserving their historic properties and cultural traditions. The program originated in 1990, when Congress directed NPS to study and report on preservation funding needs. The findings of that report, the Keepers of the Treasures--Protecting Historic Properties and Cultural Traditions on Indian Lands, are the foundation of the Tribal Preservation Program. Based on that report, Congress has appropriated annual grants for tribal preservation.
The Tribal Preservation Program is dedicated to working with Indian tribes, Alaska Native Groups, Native Hawaiians, and national organizations, to preserve and protect resources and traditions that are of importance to Native Americans. Given the limited funding levels of the program, its main purpose is to help tribes strengthen their capabilities for operating sustainable preservation programs. Projects that provide training for tribal members and have a lasting impact on the tribe are given the highest priority in the funding process.
How We Help
The grant awards of the tribal preservation program provide much needed assistance to Indian communities interested in protecting their cultural heritage. The federal grant funds used for these preservation projects are often leveraged with tribal and private funds in cooperative projects that benefit tribal, National Park, and non-profit groups simultaneously.
For More Information
Tribal Preservation Program
Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service
1201 Eye St. NW, 2255
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: James Bird at (202) 354-1837
Fax: (202) 371-1794