The Cultural Resources program focuses on the protection of cultural resources in the landscapes of our Tolowa ancestral territory. The Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation has assumed the responsibilities of the State Historic Preservation Office to review and comment on federal, state, and local projects within our tribally owned lands and ancestral territory which may have impacts on cultural resources. This assumption of responsibilities is outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Tribal Heritage Preservation Office (THPO) carries out cultural resource protection activities in accordance with many laws including but not limited to: National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Protection Act, American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and California Environmental Quality Act. When ground-disturbing activities occur at or near culturally sensitive areas, the THPO participates in "cultural monitoring" to ensure that cultural resources are not disturbed.
Tribal Collection Program
The Tribal Collection program consists of three main activities. First, the management and curation of the tribally owned cultural artifacts. This includes rotation of exhibits in the display cabinets at the tribal office, outgoing loans to tribal members for ceremonial/educational use, as well as various other cleaning and maintenance activities. Second, is a consultation to inquire about cultural items and human remains within the museum and federal agency collections. The THPO works to determine which objects are culturally affiliated to Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation and then submit claims for repatriation; which is the legal return of the cultural items to the Tribe. Lastly, when human remains are unearthed within our ancestral territory and have been determined to be Native American by the Coroner, the treatment and placement of those human remains are subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The THPO will engage in consultation with the appropriate parties regarding the respectful treatment and reinterment of the human remains.
The cemetery program consists of the management and inventory of cemetery plots, facilitating and assisting the Tolowa community in the assignment of plots, and collaborating with the Public Works and Facilities program on the maintenance of the Cemetery grounds and structures. The Culture Committee of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation gives advisement to staff on projects or issues regarding the Cemetery. The THPO office is also responsible for hosting the Annual Cemetery Clean-up and Elder Gathering each year in May the weekend prior to Memorial Day.
The Archives program consists of maintaining the integrity of historical records, photographs, and audio recordings. A complete and functional inventory of this documented history is a goal and the THPO office is working hard to digitize and update the storage of these items.