U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
of the Interior, National Park Service
National Register, History and Education
Traditional Cultural Values in Preservation PlanningTraditional cultural properties, and the beliefs and institutions that give them significance, should be systematically addressed in programs of preservation planning and in the historic preservation components of land use plans. One very practical reason for this is to simplify the identification and evaluation of traditional cultural properties that may be threatened by construction and land use projects. Identifying and evaluating such properties can require detailed and extensive consultation, interview programs, and ethnographic fieldwork as discussed below. Having to conduct such activities may add considerably to the time and expense of compliance with Section 106, the National Environment Policy Act, and other authorities. Such costs can be reduced significantly, however, by early, proactive planning that identifies significant properties or areas likely to contain significant properties before specific projects are planned that may affect them, identifies parties likely to ascribe cultural value to such properties, and establishes routine systems for consultation with such parties.
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation Planning provide for the establishment of "historic contexts" as a basic step in any preservation planning process be it planning for the comprehensive survey of a community or planning a construction project. A historic context is an organization of available information about, among other things, the cultural history of the area to be investigated, that identifies "the broad patterns of development in an area that may be represented by historic properties" (48 FR 44717). The traditions and traditional lifeways of a planning area may represent such "broad patterns," so information about them should be used as a basis for historic context development.
The Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Preservation Planning emphasize the need for organized public participation in context development (48 FR 44717). The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Guidelines for Public Participation in Historic Preservation Review (ACHP 1988) provide detailed recommendations regarding such participation. Based on these standards and guidelines, groups that may ascribe traditional cultural values to an area's historic properties should be contacted and asked to assist in organizing information on the area. Historic contexts should be considered that reflect the history and culture of such groups as the groups themselves understand them, as well as their history and culture as defined by Euroamerican scholarship, and processes for consultation with such groups should be integrated into routine planning and project review procedures.
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