Tribal Preservation Program
The National Park Service (NPS) Tribal Preservation Program assists Indian tribes in preserving their historic properties and cultural traditions through the designation of Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO) and through annual grant funding programs.
The program originated in 1990, when Congress directed NPS to study and report on Tribal preservation funding needs. The findings of 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.
In 1996, twelve tribes were approved by the Secretary of the Interior and NPS to assume the responsibilities of a Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) on tribal lands, pursuant to Section 101(d) of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended. The number of designated THPOs has grown approximately 180 in 2018, and continues to grow at an accelerated pace.
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 Project Grants to Federally recognized tribes, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiian organizations.