Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO)
Under the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, (16 U.S.C. 470), historic preservation activities center on the identification and preservation of significant architectural features in a given area.
Nationally, Historic Preservation activities are administered by the National Park Service, who empowers various state offices (State Historic Preservation Offices) to determine what is and what is not architecturally significant in their states. For non-tribal lands in Oklahoma, duties are split between the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office and the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey.
It is the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's position that decisions regarding historical significance in the Nation’s homeland in central Oklahoma rightfully rest with the CPN, especially on its original lands purchased by the Nation in the 1870's.
Congress made provisions for tribes to designate Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO's) to undertake the same duties on tribal lands (36 CFR 61) as those performed by the states on non-tribal lands. The CPN has made it clear to the NPS that it intends to undertake the duties and responsibilities delineated in the law and will identify for itself what is and what is not architecturally significant on its own tribal land.
In 2006, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation developed an historic preservation plan alongside an application for official federal recognition as a 101(d)(2) Tribal Historic Preservation Office. The application was approved and has been renewed each year since.
The current THPO is Kelli Mosteller, who began serving in the position in January, 2011. She may be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at (405)-878-5830.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting Native Americans. NAGPRA provides a process by which museums and other federal agencies that receive federal funding and have curatorial control of remains or funerary objects, may return those remains and objects to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations, if they can be determined.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act was signed into law by US President George Bush in 1990. It was created to protect cemeteries on federal and tribal lands, and to provide a way to return the human skeletal material and associated funerary objects in the nation's scientific and museum collections to culturally affiliated tribes. While NAGPRA is not a perfect document, it is the first enacted legislation of its kind, and it is the direct result of a decade of political activism at the heart of what could be termed the Native American repatriation movement.