Tribe receives $60,305 federal historic preservation grant

03.07.2012 Ron Karten History, Federal government

The Grand Ronde Tribe received a $60,305 grant from the Department of Interior on Wednesday, March 7, to support Tribal Historic Preservation efforts.

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Eirik Thorsgard said the Grand Ronde Tribe's federal allocation will be used to purchase archaeology equipment and to pay for contracts to record Tribal historic buildings.

The Grand Ronde Tribe hired its first archaeologist, Briece Edwards, in late 2011.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the grant as part of $8.4 million being given to 131 American Indian Tribes to support their Tribal Historic Preservation Offices under the National Historic Preservation Act.

The National Park Service awards the grants to Tribes to assist in carrying out national historic preservation program responsibilities on Tribal lands.

"The participation of American Indians in the national historic preservation program is a major step forward in how we tell the story of our land and its people," Salazar said. "These grants will help Tribes recount their histories that date back centuries before Europeans set foot on this continent. As they tell the story, all Americans can gain a greater appreciation of their rich traditions and cultures."

Tribes can use the grants to fund projects, such as nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education, architectural planning, historic structure reports, community preservation plans and brick-and-mortar repair to buildings.

The grants come from revenues from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.

"Increased attention to the preservation of significant Tribal places, as well as Tribal culture and tradition, is important to all Americans," said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "This grant program provides important funding to protect the cultures of the first Americans."

Thorsgard became the Tribe's Tribal Historic Preservation Officer in early 2011 after the Tribe received a $27,000 grant from the National Park Service. The position allows the Tribe to have increased sovereignty in controlling its architectural and historic sites on Reservation and trust lands.

As the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Thorsgard has the authority on the Tribe's trust lands to assess potential archaeological materials and devise plans to avoid affecting the site or move the materials out of the way of planned development without obtaining a ruling from the State Historic Preservation Office.