The Department of Cultural Affairs works to preserve and protect the specific heritage, remaining physical evidence, aboriginal territory and daily life skills, arts and traditional practices of the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe and its individual Members.
Cultural Affairs Objectives
1) Preserving Blue Lake Rancheria Tribal Culture, including archeological / cultural sites, arts, artifacts, language, traditions, beliefs and all aspects of Membership lineage and ancestry.
2) Conducting consultations in all areas that impact the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe’s ancestral sites and/or cultural ideals.
3) Creating and improving relationships with all other stakeholders involved in and/or related to the Tribe’s cultural affairs.
In order to be effective in these tasks, the team partners with many organizations and individuals in the greater community and local, state and federal governments. Cultural Affairs projects include proactive planning, traditional land use and boundary issues, cultural site preservation, ethics, natural resource sustainability and other environmental issues that impact cultural matters.
Tribal Historic Preservation Office [THPO]
In 2004 the Cultural Affairs division of the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe was approved by the U.S. National Park Service to assume certain duties of the State Historic Preservation Office concerning Tribal lands, within the exterior boundaries of the Rancheria, regardless of the properties’ governmental, organizational, or individual affiliations.
The Tribe established a Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO), and appointed a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (also THPO) to implement and oversee the preservation activities.
Duties of the THPO include:
- Maintain an inventory of Tribal Historic Properties
- Identify and nominate eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places | Administer applications for listing historic properties on the National Register | Follow the nomination process of the National Historic Preservation Act. (36CFR60)
- Prepare and implement a comprehensive Rancheria-wide historic preservation plan
- Administer the State program of Federal assistance for historic preservation within Tribal lands.
- Advise and assist as appropriate, Federal and State agencies, and local governments in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities
- Cooperate with the Secretary of the Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal and State agencies, local governments, organizations and individuals to ensure that archaeological and historic properties are taken into consideration at all levels of planning and development.
- Provide public information, education, training, and technical assistance in regard to historic preservation
- Consult with appropriate Federal agencies in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act on the following:
1) Federal undertakings that may affect historical properties
2) The content and sufficiency of any plans developed to protect, manage, restore, or to reduce or mitigate harm to historic properties.
- Employ, appoint, or contract with individuals, cultural monitors, consultants or organizations who meet the Secretary of the Interior's Professional Qualifications Standards or are recognized by the Tribe as a traditional or cultural authority.
The THPO works closely with the North Coastal Information Center (NCIC) and other professional information repositories, both physical and online, to access, catalogue, preserve and protect cultural information.
Today, especially in progressive Humboldt County, most people are sensitive to the local history of Native Americans and understand and support the local Tribes’ need to keep their cultures intact and thriving. Tribes are becoming more involved in identifying cultural artifacts and working to place these into perpetual conservation.
The Tribe is successfully partnering with the greater Humboldt County community, government, agencies and industry to accomplish cultural and historic preservation. The Tribe reviews and comments on such projects as Timber Harvest Plans (THP), Conversion Exemption Plans (CEP), Vegetative Management Plans (VMP), and various Humboldt County, City of Blue Lake, City of Arcata, and other Tribal, State, and Federal projects. In 2003 alone the Tribe received over 100 requests for consultation and comment pertaining to cultural or historical sites. The Section 106 process is utilized to comment on the various project requests.
Link to U.S. Department of the Interior | National Park Service | Tribal Historic Preservation Office: http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tribal/101Dreg.htm