PABLO, MONTANA—Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman Aimee Jorjani entered into an agreement with Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in Pablo, Montana, and the ACHP Foundation on September 23, 2019 to provide educational, personal development, and professional growth opportunities to students in the Tribal Historic Preservation and Tribal Governance and Administration degree programs.

As one of her first official actions as chairman since being confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June, Jorjani signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the College, which provides post-secondary educational opportunities for Native Americans, perpetuating the cultures of the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Nation.

“The ACHP has made it a priority to build a more inclusive historic preservation community through partnering with colleges and universities to educate young people and provide pathways into historic preservation careers,” Chairman Jorjani said. “This partnership will help the ACHP advance tribal historic preservation and support new tribal preservationists as they enter the field. We hope this will lead to exciting and new opportunities for the historic preservation students here at Salish Kootenai College.”

The ACHP’s Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) launched a Native Youth Initiative in 2015 to introduce Native youth to historic preservation as a potential career choice and to provide Native youth an opportunity to voice concerns regarding the protection of sacred sites. In 2016, ONAA launched a program to offer distance learning to students in the tribal historic preservation program at SKC and, last year, determined the most effective way to achieve its program goals would be through a long-term partnership with the college.

SKC is the only tribal college that offers two- and four- year degree programs in Tribal Historic Preservation as well as other related degree programs, educating future Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO), tribal archaeologists, and tribal leaders that will both participate in and influence the future of historic preservation.

The MOU between the ACHP, the ACHP Foundation, and SKC spells out several goals:

  • Build awareness of the SKC Tribal Historic Preservation (THP) program and the collaboration.
  • Provide class lectures to SKC students via in-person and/or video teleconference regarding historic preservation content consistent with the THP curriculum and program needs.
  • Develop National Historic Preservation Act course content that will provide SKC students with guidance on the four-step Section 106 process, reasonable and good faith effort standards, roles and responsibilities of Indian tribes and THPOs, special expertise, sites of religious and cultural significance, ancestral lands, the federal-tribal relationship, and other applicable topics.
  • Develop experiential educational opportunities to include internships and field schools.
  • Develop a mentor program to facilitate guided interaction between the ACHP and THP program students.
  • Co-host historic preservation gatherings such as tribal summits at SKC.
  • Host an annual meeting either at the SKC campus or at the ACHP offices to review the MOU, develop best practices, and explore additional opportunities for collaboration.

The agreement will remain in effect through the 2021-2022 academic year.

The ACHP is committed to engaging youth in historic preservation, and offers additional programs to meet that goal. The ACHP partners with the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation on another youth historic preservation training program, Touching History: Preservation in Practice. The program seeks to bring African American young professionals into preservation-related careers, raise awareness of the rich cultural legacy of HBCUs and train students in historic preservation theory.

For more information on youth efforts with Salish Kootenai College, or other youth efforts, visit https://www.achp.gov/initiatives/youth-outreach.

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