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NATHPO Annual Meeting Scheduled

Leaders of the National Tribal Historic Preservation Officers organization have announced plans for their thirteenth annual meeting.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of Arizona will be the host tribe for the event, which is scheduled to take place September 19-21, 2011.

NATHPO is a not-for-profit membership association made up of tribal governments that are committed to preserving, rejuvenating, and improving the status of tribal cultures and cultural practices by supporting Native languages, arts, dances, music, oral traditions, cultural properties, tribal museums, tribal cultural centers, and tribal libraries.

To date, the organization has seen major success in drawing attention to shortcomings of the federal government in repatriating items to tribes, as well as federal agency problems in complying with the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. The 1990 federal law created a legal process for federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return American Indian human remains and cultural items to respective tribes or lineal descendants.

In recent years, the organization has pursued the following priorities:

• Supporting adequate federal funding for cultural preservation involving the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers program; tribal museums and cultural centers; grants to assist tribes with Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act activities; Native language preservation and rejuvenation; and sacred site protection;

• Helping achieve full voting membership for NATHPO on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation;

• Collaborating to conduct a national study to examine the actual needs and challenges facing Indian country’s cultural preservation;

• Implementing recommendations of the NATHPO-Makah report, which found that the National Park Service has used more than $3 million in tribal grants for purposes not covered by NAGPRA (It also found that several federal agencies, including the Park Service itself, have withdrawn public notices that tie held remains and objects to contemporary Natives); and

• Enhancing and promoting Native voices in all aspects of historic preservation at all levels of government.

More information on NATHPO is available at its website.