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Tribal Historic Preservation Officers

Indian tribe means a tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including a native village, regional corporation, or village corporation, as defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1602), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Native Hawaiian organization is considered any organization which serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians; has as a primary and stated purpose of services for Native Hawaiians; and has demonstrated expertise in aspects of historic preservation that are significant to Native Hawaiians.

Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) are officially designated by a federally-recognized Indian tribe to direct a program approved by the National Park Service in which the THPO must have assumed some or all of the functions of State Historic Preservation Officers on Tribal lands. This program was made possible by the provisions of Section 101(d)(2) of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Applicant’s working with THPOs

Rural Development has delegated authority to its applicants pursuant to 36 CFR § 800.2(c)(4), and 7 CFR § 1970.5(b)(2) of the regulations, Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR Part 1970), to initiate and proceed through Section 106 review, and advocates for the direct interactions between its applicants and the tribe, THPO, and/or Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO). In delegating this authority, RD is advocating for early communication with the tribe, THPO, and/or NHO in the Section 106 process. RD believes this interaction, prior to direct agency involvement, will support and encourage the consideration of impacts to historic properties earlier in project planning. Therefore, RD applicants may submit information to tribes, THPOs, and/or NHOs to initiate or continue the Section 106 process on our behalf. However, these interactions exclude Tribal “engagement” where the tribe specially asks for government–to–government consultation. This blanket delegation does not delegate its government–to governmental consultation responsibilities toward Indian tribes. The sovereign nature of Indian tribes means that RD cannot force them to engage with its applicants.

Identifying Interested Tribes

Applicants, at a minimum, should utilize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Tribal Directory Assessment Tool website, to identify interested tribes.

Tribal Consultation Preferences

Before submitting Section 106 information to tribes, THPOs, and NHOs, please identify their Section 106 submission and review procedures. Failure to follow their procedures will result in extended review time.