Tribal Heritage Preservation Office (THPO)

THPO Office Location

140 Rowdy Creek Rd.
Smith River, Ca. 95567
Phone: 707-487-9255

THPO Department Overview

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office covers the areas of historic (passive) values:
Our Ancestors resting place (Cemetery)
Our Ancestor’s traditional landscapes (Cultural Resources)
Our Ancestor’s tangible material culture (Collections)
Our collective written & documented history (Archives)

These broad areas identify who we are as a sovereign nation and provide the basis for our establishment as a government.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office mission and goals are to preserve the Tribe’s historic values and resources through defining programs, services, functions and activities by engaging in consultation, collaboration, protection and compliance on projects related to the treatment, preservation and placement of our ancestors, material culture and landscapes.

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 to 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 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 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 consultation to inquire about cultural items and human remains within 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.

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.

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.

 

Current Grant Projects of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office Include:
FY18 National Park Service Consultation/Documentation Grant, which consists of consultation with a museum on the Tolowa objects in their collection. The ultimate goal being repatriation. Project ends August 2020

FY18 Institute of Museum and Library Services Native American Museum Services Grant; which consists of a project to bring in a professional consultant to conduct a collections assessment, develop a collections management policy and remediate hazardous collection storage issues. Project ends July 2020

FY19 National Park Service Tribal Heritage Grant, which consists of an Oral History Project of Cultural Traditions and Protocols of the Howonquet Indian Cemetery. Project ends August 2021

FY19 National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund, this funding is an annual appropriation that comes from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenues. The idea being the exploitation of one resource should benefit another. This funding is provided to Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to assist in their efforts to protect and preserve historic resources. Funding cycle ends September 2021

FY20 National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund, this funding is an annual appropriation that comes from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenues. The idea being the exploitation of one resource should benefit another. This funding is provided to Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to assist in their efforts to protect and preserve historic resources. Funding cycle ends September 2022

FY20 National Park Service Repatriation Grant proposal submitted in order to transport a recently repatriated collection back to the Tribe.

 

Services of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office include:
Outgoing loans of regalia items for ceremonies and tribally sponsored events. Assistance with the facilitation of burials in the Howonquet Indian Cemetery. Digitization of family/tribal history photo/documentation collections. Oral Interviews with tribal citizens and/or Tolowa community members. Cultural Preservation education and/or presentations for local agency staff members and children’s events.

  • Hosting of annual Cemetery Clean-up and Elder Gathering Event Hosting of seaweed gathering ndn-tivity.
  • Assistance with the hosting of Crescent City Surfer Girls surfing clinic offered by pro surfer Kelly Potts and PrAna
  • Repatriation of 59 cultural items from a public museum in California.
  • Collaboration with the Records and Information Technology departments for two Scan & Share events.
  • Participated in Redwood National and State Parks seasonal staff training by presenting information about the Tribe and our government to government relationship with both agencies.
  • Presented regalia from the Tribe’s heritage collection to tribal youth during the Community and Family Services department summer activities.
  • Facilitated several outgoing loans for regalia from the tribal heritage collection for use in ceremony, educational and tribally sponsored events.
  • Designed the Winter Solstice greeting card which was distributed to all tribal member households in celebration of the holiday season.
  • Designed the new tribal citizen enrollment card.
  • Secured a new grant from the National Park Service Tribal Heritage Grant program in order to complete an oral history project focused on the Howonquet Indian Cemetery.
  • Completed the physical repatriation of one stone maul and one mush bowl from the Oakland Museum of California.
  • Facilitated the restoration of a vandalized cultural site on tribal land back to a natural state.

THPO Department Staff

Amanda O'Connell

Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer

Office (707) 487-9255
Fax (707) 487-0930
Email amanda.oconnell@tolowa.com

Karin Levy

Cultural Resource Specialist

Office (707) 487-9255 x 1181
Fax (707) 487-0930
Email karin.levy@tolowa.com

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