The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians first established the Tribal Historic Preservation Office November 2012. This department aims to protect and preserve sites, structures, and districts that are within the ancestral territory of the Chemehuevi. This department is managed by the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), who assumes the responsibilities of a State Historic Preservation Officer on tribal lands. Outside tribal lands the THPO serves as an official representative of the Tribe in the consultation process. The Tribal Historic Preservation Office works with the interest of the Tribe in mind to preserve and protect cultural resources. This is done through consultation, cultural monitoring, repatriation, and education/outreach programs.
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office is dedicated to protecting and preserving cultural resources. These nonrenewable resources, such as artifacts, sites, and landscapes, are an important connection to the past.
NAGPRA (Native American Graves and Repatriation Act provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony -- to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. The Tribal Historic Preservation Office, manages NAGPRA cases on behalf of the Tribe.
The THPO is committed to providing outreach to the local community. Every year, staff from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office participate in the Tribe’s annual Winter Gathering Pow Wow, informing the public about the Tribe’s history and ways that the Tribe protects their cultural heritage.
The THPO’s outreach program has been developed for the general public to more specialized organizations and groups with specific interests. Staff from the THPO have provided PowerPoint preservations, lectures, speeches, and operate a booth with flyers and outreach material for the public.
The Secretary of Interior’s Standards and Guidelines definition for consultation: “Consultation means the process of seeking, discussing, and considering the views of others, and, where feasible, seeking agreement with them on how historic properties should be identified, considered, and managed”
Consultation with Tribes are done so with the recognition of Tribal sovereignty. The federal government requires Federal Agencies to interact with tribes on a government-to-government basis. When an Agency reviews information about sites within the area of potential effect of a project, Native American groups are notified to help review potential projects. Consultation between the Agency and the Tribe lasts until the parties resolve adverse effects or until an impasse is reached.
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal Historic Preservation Office assists in this process. The Tribal Historic Preservation Office helps preserve and protect cultural resources by identifying culturally sensitive areas, and works with Agencies to resolve adverse effects that a project could have on cultural resources.
The cultural monitoring program was established in 2016, allowing the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians to better protect and preserve cultural resources throughout the Chemehuevi Traditional Territory.Our Tribal Monitors work with developers, contractors, public agencies, and archaeologists to ensure that prehistoric and historic sites are treated appropriately. Tribal monitors can work in many phases of the construction process. Before construction begins they assist in archaeological testing and data recovery excavations and during the construction process they monitor ground disturbing activities.
Tribal Monitors, having traditional knowledge of ancestral territory, bring insight and a perceptive that allows for the identification of cultural materials that otherwise might not be understood and/or destroyed.