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Traditional Cultural Landscapes in the Section 106 Review Process

Since 1992, when Congress amended the National Historic Preservation Act to clarify that historic properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (National Register), the ACHP has seen a steady increase in the number of Section 106 reviews involving such historic properties. Improvements in federal agency consultation with Indian tribes and NHOs and greater recognition of their expertise in identifying historic properties of significance to them have likely contributed to this increase. It is equally likely that there have also been increasing development pressures in places not previously developed. An early 2011 Tribal Summit co-hosted by the ACHP in Palm Springs, California, underscored the fact that the nation’s renewed emphasis on the development and transmission of renewable energy, as well as the continued focus on conventional energy, is placing additional pressures on landscapes throughout the country, and particularly in the west.

Native American Traditional Cultural Landscapes in the Section 106 Review Process: Questions and Answers

The consideration of Native American traditional cultural landscapes in Section 106 reviews has challenged federal agencies, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations for some time. There has been confusion regarding what makes a place a traditional cultural landscape, whether they can be considered historic properties, and whether the size of such places influences their consideration under the National Historic Preservation Act.

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