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October 2005

Improving Section 106 Compliance by Improving Relationships: FHWA Tribal Consultation Workshops

The Seneca Bark Longhouse overlooking the Trail of Peace at Ganondagan State Park. The Bark Longhouse is a full-size replica of a 17th century longhouse that was destroyed by the French in 1687.  Participants in the FHWA Mid-Atlantic Region Tribal Consultation Workshop visited Ganondagan State Park during the workshop.

The Seneca Bark Longhouse overlooking the Trail of Peace at Ganondagan State Park. The Bark Longhouse is a full-size replica of a 17th century longhouse that was destroyed by the French in 1687. Participants in the FHWA Mid-Atlantic Region Tribal Consultation Workshop visited Ganondagan State Park during the workshop.

Agencies and Native Tribes Get Together to Share and Learn

The Federal government's relationship with Indian tribes is deeply rooted in American history, dating to the earliest contact between colonial and tribal governments. Like the colonial powers, the United States acknowledges Indian tribes as sovereign nations; this relationship exists on a government-to-government basis. Accordingly, many different laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and Federal policies direct the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) responsibilities toward Indian tribes. In particular, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires that the USDOT, like all Federal agencies, consult with Indian tribes, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians if the agency's undertakings may affect tribal properties or properties with traditional religious and cultural significance to the tribes. These properties may be on or off actual tribal lands, yet still require consultation. Consulting with tribes requires a basic understanding of U.S. — tribal relationships, specific knowledge of what is required by law and regulation, and awareness of what is culturally appropriate. This series of four workshops provides an opportunity for representatives of transportation agencies and tribes alike to navigate the complexities of Section 106.

In order to ensure meaningful and timely tribal consultation, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is working with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to present the FHWA Tribal Consultation Workshops. ACHP, as the agency promulgating and overseeing implementation of the regulations governing consultation under Section 106, is particularly suited to provide expert advice to FHWA and its sister agencies. These two-and-a-half-day workshops provide a venue where State DOT and FHWA officials can meet with members of Indian tribes to discuss Section 106 and other related topics. While some State DOTs and FHWA Division Offices have developed relationships with relevant tribes, many others are just beginning to do so. At the workshops, all parties have the opportunity to foster relationships as well as obtain guidance on consultation. In addition, the workshops present an opportunity to share experiences with other DOT agencies and their state partners in the same region on how to best initiate and approach tribal consultation. Each workshop is designed to:

  • Provide a basic overview of Federal government-Indian relations and history.
  • Review the tribal consultation requirements under Section 106.
  • Introduce tribal perspectives on consultation.
  • Open avenues of communication among State DOTs, FHWA, and Indian tribes.

Previous Successes

To date, three regional workshops have been held, and one more is planned for late October 2005. Participants include representatives from tribes located within each host region, as well as FHWA, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and State DOTs. The first Tribal Consultation Workshop took place in St. Louis, Missouri in December 2004, and included representatives of six FHWA Division Offices; FHWA-Federal Lands Highway; FTA; FAA; State DOTs; and the Osage Nation, Quapaw Tribe, Cheyenne-Arapahoe Tribe, and Kansas Tribe. The second workshop was held in Alabama in April 2005, and included representatives of eight FHWA divisions; FAA; FTA; State DOTs; the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Creek Nation, and Choctaw Tribe.

Section 106 Resources
  • The FHWA Tribal Consultation Guidelines are intended to serve as a reference for DOT staff responsible for carrying out the requirements of Section 106.
  • FHWA staff may refer questions regarding Section 106 and its implementation to the FHWA Federal Preservation Officer, MaryAnn Naber. Phone: 202-366-2060. Email: maryann.naber@fhwa.dot.gov.
  • FHWA staff may also obtain assistance from the ACHP in understanding and interpreting the requirements of Section 106, tribal roles in the national historic preservation program, and consultation requirements in Section 106 the review process.
  • For general information on requirements of Section 106 or guidance on a specific FHWA project, contact Carol Legard, FHWA Liaison, at 202-606-8522 or clegard@achp.gov
  • For information on tribal consultation and tribal roles in the national historic preservation program, contact Valerie Hauser, ACHP, at 202-606-8530 or vhauser@achp.gov

Mid-Atlantic and New England Workshops This Fall

The remaining two workshops in this series serve the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. The Seneca Nation hosted the Mid-Atlantic Regional Workshop from August 30 to September 1, 2005, in Victor, New York. The workshop included representatives from the FHWA divisions of New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; State DOTs of New York and West Virginia; FAA-New England Region; FTA-NYC office; US Environmental Protection Agency; ACHP; Pennsylvania and New York State Historic Preservation Offices; as well as three tribes representing the region and the Haudenosaunee Confederation. The workshop incorporated a visit to a 17th century Seneca Village at Ganondagan State Park, near Rochester, New York.

Presenters at the Mid-Atlantic Workshop included:

  • Valerie Hauser, Native American Program Coordinator, ACHP Staff
  • MaryAnn Naber, Federal Preservation Officer, FHWA
  • Peter Jemison, Seneca Nation, ACHP Member
  • Sheree Bonaparte, St. Regis Mohawk
  • Kathy Mitchell, Seneca Nation
  • Linda Poolaw, Delaware Nation
  • Curtis Lazore, Haudenosaunee Cultural Resource Center.

The New England Regional Tribal Consultation Workshop will take place in Warwick, Rhode Island from October 25 to 27, 2005. The Narragansett Indian Tribe will host the workshop. Representatives from other tribes of the New England Region are invited to participate, along with State DOTs, FHWA divisions, and representatives from the FAA, FTA and other federal agencies.

Next Steps

The FHWA Tribal Consultation Workshops represent one of many efforts to help foster relationships between FHWA and Indian tribes. As forums for discussing recurrent topics and raising new issues, the workshops enhance communication among these parties and make working together easier and more productive.

A variety of resources are available to help you manage tribal consultations. (See sidebar.) Beyond regulatory compliance, timely and meaningful consultations will help ensure that tribal sites in the United States - whether on or off tribal lands - will be identified, well documented, and preserved.

Contact Information

MaryAnn Naber
Federal Preservation Officer FHWA-HEPE
400 Seventh St. SW, Room 3222
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: (202) 366-2060
Fax: (202) 366-7660

Look What's New!

  • An updated version of the Negotiated Timeframes Wizard will be available in November 2005. The version will integrate environmental review provisions outlined in Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU into the software.
  • The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are offering an opportunity for American Indians to attend Introductory Metadata, GIS, and GPS training courses at the FWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
    • TEC 7112-GIS Intro. for Conservation Professionals
    • TEC7132-GPS Intro. for Natural Resource Field Personnel
Funding covers tuition and per diem. For more information or application, contact: Bonnie Gallahan, USGS/FGDC Tribal Liaison at 703-648-6084 or bgallahan@usgs.gov

"Successes in Stewardship" is a Federal Highway Administration newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining and stewardship practices from around the country. To subscribe, visit the Registration Site, or call 617-494-6352.

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