Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology




United States. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Historic sites -- Conservation and restoration -- United States, Indians of North America -- Antiquities -- Law and legislation


In this paper, I predominately use a political ecology lens to evaluate the use of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in facilitating American Indians' engagement with ancestral lands now federally governed. I look at how agencies can implement effective consultation that lessens the power imbalance between tribes and the federal government that is inherent in the NHPA, as well as help alleviate conflict between tribes, agencies, and various public interest groups regarding proper land management and use. From July 2014 through December 2014, I conducted eleven semi-structured interviews of participants involved with five Traditional Cultural Places or Properties (TCPs) in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest, as well as fourteen other individuals involved with TCPs. I used inductive coding to identify themes related to contextual factors that support effective consultation, and thus management, of TCPs. The themes I identified include federal agencies facilitating stronger relationships through effective communication and cultivating cultural understanding, incorporating the way tribes view the landscape into consultation and management practices, and proactively building relationships outside the compliance context. I argue that these themes support a more collaborative approach in managing these culturally important places, which facilitates tribes' reconnection with traditional areas, lessens conflict regarding proper land management and use, and strengthens self-determination through increased recognition of tribal sovereignty. This research further adds to the discussion of power dynamics between indigenous peoples and national governments regarding the management and governance of indigenous ancestral lands.


Advisor: Jeremy Spoon

This is a Policy Paper in fulfillment of the M.A. in Anthropology

Persistent Identifier