The ACHP Office of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples (OTIP) is focused on Indigenous Knowledge (IK) to help Section 106 practitioners more fully understand its importance during a Section 106 review. While there is no legal definition of Indigenous Knowledge in the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), OTIP is working with Indian Tribes, kanaka maoli (indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands) and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) to develop appropriate means to explain the importance and role of Indigenous Knowledge has in all four steps of the Section 106 process.

To further elaborate, advance, and encourage IK in the Section 106 process OTIP worked to develop the ACHP Policy Statement on Indigenous Knowledge and Historic Preservation that builds on the 2023 government-wide Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge.

The Policy Statement on Indigenous Knowledge and Historic Preservation was unanimously approved by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation March 21, 2024. The policy statement’s 12 principles affirm the crucial importance of IK to historic preservation and provide guidelines for incorporating IK throughout each step of the Section 106 process. The ACHP thanks everyone who contributed to developing and refining this policy statement and looks forward to collaborating on its implementation.

Why Indigenous Knowledge is Important
Section 54 U.S.C. 302706 of the NHPA clarifies that properties of religious and cultural importance to an Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization may be determined eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Therefore, these properties must be considered in the Section 106 review process. The special expertise, or Indigenous Knowledge, brought to the process by Tribal and Native Hawaiian participants is frequently the basis for identifying these locations, evaluating them for National Register eligibility, and resolving any potential adverse effects.

OTIP’s discussions with Indian Tribes, kanaka maoli, and other Indigenous peoples about Indigenous Knowledge included participation in the eighteenth session of the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN PFII) entitled, Traditional knowledge: Generation, Transmission and Protection. During the session, the U.S. government offered a statement about its efforts to protect Indigenous Knowledge, which the ACHP helped draft. The ACHP, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. also hosted a side event on Indigenous Knowledge, in conjunction with the UN PFII session. The side event was intended to begin a discussion with U.S. indigenous representatives about how the U.S. government should work with Indigenous Knowledge. Key recommendations, questions, and comments raised by attendees at the side event are available here.

The ACHP also regularly hosts webinars and participates in panel presentations to further educate parties about Indigenous Knowledge and its role in historic preservation.



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Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality
Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Guidance Document Pursuant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA)

DOI BOEM Alaska Region
Traditional Knowledge

DOI BOEM and the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management
Traditional Knowledge Implementation: Accessing Community Panels of Subject Matter Experts

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Application by Service Scientists

The United Nations Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues
The Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and Policies for Sustainable Development: Updates and Trends in the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

United Nations: Human Rights Council, Thirtieth session
Promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to their cultural heritage
Study by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples




Understanding and Implementation