Dean Nicolai, Native American Studies Department Head at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana, today spoke with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) staff on the ACHP’s recently announced partnership and the goals of the program. Dorothy Lippert, expert member of the ACHP, Valerie Grussing, executive director of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, Jamie Lee Marks, program manager, THPO Program at the National Park Service, and Katherine Slick, president of the ACHP Foundation, joined the discussion.

Salish Kootenai College is the only college in the nation that offers a tribal historic preservation degree program.

“We want our students to not only be leaders, but also to have every opportunity to gain value for when they enter the workforce,” Nicolai said.

The ACHP, Salish Kootenai College, and the ACHP Foundation entered into an agreement in September to provide educational, personal development, and professional growth opportunities to students in the college’s Tribal Historic Preservation and Tribal Governance and Administration degree programs.

Planning has begun on a summit to take place at the college next spring for students, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, federal and state agencies, and others interested in historic preservation to talk about best practices in preservation and focus on what works. Nicolai envisions student presentations and a student panel to be highlights of the event.

Nicolai discussed some goals he has for the partnership, such as mentorships, internships, networking opportunities, and visits to Washington, D.C. to meet with ACHP and National Park Service preservation staff.

“This is how we meet our trust responsibilities to Indian tribes and help to build tribal capacity,” said Valerie Hauser, director of the Office of Native American Affairs at the ACHP.

Read more about the partnership here.

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