The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has a government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes, which the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) defines as “an Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community…which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States…”
This special relationship is affirmed in treaties, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Orders, and provides that FHWA and other Federal agencies consult with Tribes regarding policy and regulatory matters. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) also requires that FHWA consult with Tribes for undertakings that may affect properties considered to have traditional religious and cultural significance.
Tribal consultation is an essential element in achieving a streamlined product. The NHPA, including Section 106, requires Federal agencies to work with Indian Tribes that may have a cultural or religious association to historic properties affected by an agency’s undertakings.