Mescalero Apache Tribe students singing, courtesy of the American Indian Liaison Office
WASHINGTON –National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today awarded more than $2.2 million in historic preservation grants to 135 American Indian tribes. The grants assist tribes in carrying out national historic preservation program responsibilities on tribal lands.
“Tribal historic preservation offices are the fastest growing preservation partnerships within the national historic preservation program, showing the value that tribes place on preserving historic places and protecting tribal cultural traditions,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These grants allow tribes to focus on what they are most concerned with protecting – native language, oral history, plant and animal species important in traditions, sacred and historic places, and the establishment of tribal historic preservation offices.”
Tribes can use the grants to fund projects such as nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education, architectural planning, community preservation plans, and bricks-and-mortar repair to buildings. Examples of recent projects funded by Historic Preservation Fund grants include:
· A summer cultural forum hosted by the tribal historic preservation office of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. “Reawakening Traditional Science – Exploring the Ways of our Great Basin Culture,” brought community and tribal members of all ages together for presentations on local rock art and archeology, ancient traditional art forms such as basketry and tule duck making, tribal language, oral history, and the use and care of traditional plants. The forum showed how knowledge based both on tribal traditions and contemporary science can complement each other.
· Historic preservation surveys of approximately 195,982 acres of tribal land resulted in 7,043 archeological sites and 1,307 historic properties being added to tribal inventories. Additionally, tribal historic preservation offices prepared nominations of 64 sites for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Historic Preservation Fund is derived by revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The grants act as catalysts for private and other non-federal investment in historic preservation efforts nationwide. The National Park Service administers the fund and distributes annual matching grants to state and tribal historic preservation officers from money made available in Congressional appropriations.
This round of grants will likely be augmented with the Congressional budget agreement for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014.