Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO):
One Heart, One Mind, One People—quote from Big Head (leader of the Red Hand Society)
THPO Mission Statement:
“To secure for the present and future benefit of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the protection and preservation of all cultural, archaeological resources or paleontological specimens located with the exterior boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.”
The National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470, was enacted in 1966 and amended in 1992. Under the 1992 amendments, Section 101 (d) (2) of the Act was created to allow federally recognized Tribes to assume certain responsibilities away from their respective State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO).
Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation is a regulatory office and was officially designated as a THPO on August 14, 1996 by the Department of Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C. It was officially established in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Cultural Resource Code under Title XXXII Section 202 of the Code of Justice.
The Standing Rock THPO was the first established tribal preservation program in the United States. Tim Mentz Sr., an enrollee of Standing Rock, was instrumental in creating this unique program as it assumed jurisdiction and authority away from both North and South Dakota SHPO’s. These responsibilities apply to all lands within the Standing Rock Reservation boundaries.
The THPO allows the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to re-affirm authority and jurisdiction within the boundaries of the reservation. This NHPA definition of “Tribal Lands” applies to “all lands within the exterior boundaries of any Indian reservation” regardless of land ownership. This means whether or not it is fee, state, private, church or county lands, the tribe through the THPO retains this authority.
The THPO office works in coordination with other Standing Rock Sioux Tribal departments and programs to ensure the preservation and protection of cultural and physical artifacts and resources directly associated with the people of Standing Rock. THPO has an established working relationship with the North and South Dakota State Historic Preservation Offices. This office is charged with identification and protection of historic properties and burial sites. THPO provides the tribe with a voice for their cultural, sacred, burial sites within the boundaries of the reservation.
In addition, THPO was created recognizing the exterior boundaries of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and 1868. This responsibility was reinforced in our recognized aboriginal homelands as referenced in the Indian Claims Commission adjudicated 1978 Court of Claims Map.