CRM Journal

Book Review

Tribal Cultural Resource Management: The Full Circle to Stewardship

By Darby C. Stapp and Michael S. Burney. Heritage Resources Management Series, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002, xiv + 246 pp., bibliography, tables; cloth $70.00; paper $24.95.


Not every professional has the privilege to work directly within an ethnic or cultural community. Cultural anthropologists and folklorists reach out as ethnographers—living in, documenting, and analyzing communal practices, processes, and traditional culture. To enter a community, spend extended periods of time studying some aspect of a community, and to be accepted while retaining the role of an outsider is a treasure bestowed on few scholars. The relationships established and maintained after the term of fieldwork are a privilege.

Tribal Cultural Resource Management is the work of two scholars who share such a privileged position in working with Native American communities. The book provides a detailed historical background of the topic illustrated by a case study. It also has a practical guide for beginning a tribal cultural resource management program and delves into the future of cultural resource management among North American tribes.

This book is a compelling example of how collaboration between Native Americans and non-Indian scholars in cultural resource research and management has changed significantly in the last 20 years. The Indian rights movement and heightened cultural awareness of the scholarly community influenced these changes in the 1980s. Archeologists became more concerned with the cultural process than with chronology, function, and distribution of styles.

Three themes pervade the book. A broad overarching premise that "cultural resource management is more about people than about places and artifacts" is repeated consistently throughout. Secondly, the authors hold that there is a strong relationship among cultural resource stewardship, artifacts from the past, and cultural survival. Finally, they assert that "people who care about cultural resources must be involved if the resources are going to be preserved, protected, and made accessible."

The first four chapters provide a detailed discussion of Native American archeology spanning from the 18th-century explorations of mounds in the eastern United States to practices at the end of the 20th century. The authors discuss issues of stewardship and the different governmental entities created to care for places and artifacts. The work of cultural anthropologists is also detailed. Native American involvement with scholars and their pursuits close each chapter.

Tables provide a useful chronological list of historic events alongside Native American events, anthropological and archeological events, and cultural resource management events. The reader can see at a glance that in 1849 with the creation of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (created in 1824) was moved from the War Department to the Interior. In 1906, Congress chartered the Archeological Institute of America, enacted the Antiquities Act, and created Mesa Verde National Park (before the National Park Service was established in 1916). The frequent sidebars adding different voices from the past to the discussion are a strength of this volume, especially for students and others entering the field.

The authors' experience in Oregon and Washington State with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is presented as a case study. Stapp and Burney were responsible for establishing the tribal cultural resource management program for the tribes. Their mandate and achievements were immense. Among their early activities were providing education, training, and employment for tribal members. They created cultural resource inventories on the reservation and assisted with the burial of human remains. They also participated in several joint projects with federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Energy. This is an excellently constructed case study to use as a model.

This valuable book continues with guidance on how to create and manage a tribal cultural resource management program and the essential role of consultation. Key issues in developing a program are knowledge of the laws, networking with outside entities working on tribal land, and training. These issues are significant, not only when starting tribal cultural resource management programs. They reflect the common sense needed to work in developing outreach efforts in any cultural community.

The authors' discussion of the consultation process is enriched by descriptions of two situations. First is a recounting of ongoing intertribal meetings at the federally owned Hanford site in southeastern Washington State. Consultations with neighboring tribes began when the nuclear facility was developed in 1942. Despite input from tribal leaders, digging and other destructive activities were conducted in prohibited areas such as cemeteries. By the 1980s, however, as government attitudes toward Indian concerns changed, offending use of sacred land diminished.

The second is a more recent case of a private land-use project in Colorado. The responsible company contacted tribal leaders at the outset of their project, first conducting informational meetings at tribal centers. Then, tribal leaders were invited to the site and their perspectives shaped the proposed work. From the consultation process, the United Tribes of Colorado was created. This intertribal organization continues to work with public and private entities on land-use issues.

Tribal Cultural Resource Management is about inclusion, consultation, networking, and adopting sensitivities. The final chapter reasserts the vital need for collaboration. Through sincere, consistent outreach and collaboration, the treasure of privilege is conferred. This is an excellent source book for students learning about cultural resource management issues related to Native American archeological remains and present-day Native Americans. It is also a good source for tribal leaders as they establish their own cultural resource management programs.

Annette B. Fromm
The Deering Estate at Cutler