Tribal Historic Preservation Office Program

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    Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO) are officially designated by Tribes and serve the same function as a State Historic Preservation Office, but they are not a requirement. Tribes can elect to not participate, but those that do each have coordinators to assist in preservation efforts of Tribal historic properties and cultural traditions. They are also available to advise federal, state and local agencies on the management of Tribal historic properties and instruct municipalities on Section 106 reviews to represent tribal interests.

    The National Park Service’s Tribal Historic Preservation Program assists Indian tribes in preserving their historic properties and cultural traditions through THPO offices and through annual grant funding programs. In 1966, Federally recognized tribes were given formal responsibility for the preservation of significant historic properties on tribal lands.

    Established in 1990, the grant program was born out of a Congressionally directed study on Tribal preservation funding needs. That report, Keepers of the Treasures—Protecting Historic Properties and Cultural Traditions on Indian Lands, provided the foundation for this program and for the establishment of the grants programs.

    Two important grant programs resulted from the Keepers of the Treasures report that are funded through the Historic Preservation Fund. These are the formula grants to the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and the competitive Tribal Heritage Grants to Federally recognized tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian organizations.

    Last updated: November 13, 2023