ACHP Statement on Tribal Consultation During COVID-19

07/31/2020 4:27 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman Aimee Jorjani, ACHP Tribal Member Reno Franklin, and ACHP Member and National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers President Shasta Gaughen have issued a joint statement about the importance of federal agencies working with Indian tribes to protect cultural resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement stresses that ACHP continues to encourage federal agencies to consult early and often with Indian tribes and invest in developing relationships with them not only to improve the efficiency of the Section 106 process but to honor their government-to-government relationship with and trust responsibility to tribal nations.

From the statement

The spread of COVID-19 led to the closure or disruption of many governmental offices nationwide including those of Indian tribes. At the same time, however, this unprecedented event has demonstrated the benefit of developing and maintaining close working relationships between federal agencies and Indian tribes. Where such relationships existed, consultation has largely been able to continue pursuant to Section 106. Many federal agencies invested in developing relationships with Indian tribes prior to the pandemic. As a result, their Section 106 consultation efforts seem to be progressing despite the obstacles presented by COVID-19. One example of a formal federal-tribal relationship that includes a state agency is the Tribal Consultation Committee established through a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement (PA) among the North Dakota Federal Highway Administration, North Dakota Department of Transportation, and eight Indian tribes. The PA was amended in 2014 and now includes 19 Indian tribes. Having prior experience and knowledge of tribal governmental processes allows for efficient and effective use of time and resources to the benefit of all parties and can help move projects through the Section 106 process. This is particularly important as the nation moves into economic recovery phases and accelerates critical projects.

Read the full ACHP statement here

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