January 04, 2012
James Munkres (Archaeologist I) of the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office (ONHPO) attended a consultation meeting amongst representatives of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests (Ms. Judi Henry, Mr. Terry Krasko, Dr. David Jurney, and Ms. Johnnie Jacobs), the Ouachita National Forest (Mr. Norman Wagoner, Mr. Bill Pell, Mr. Meeks Etchieson, and Ms. Lexie Rue-Harris) and representatives of The Absentee Shawnee Tribe (Ms. Henryetta Ellis), Caddo Nation (Mr. Robert Cast and Mr. Bobby Gonzalez), Chickasaw Nation (Mr. Kevin Scrivner), Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (Dr. Ian Thompson), Delaware Nation (Ms. Tamara Francis), Eastern Shawnee Tribe (Ms. Robin DuShane), Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (Mr. Mike Tarpley), Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (Cm. Scott Willard), Muscogee (Creek) Nation (Mr. Ted Isham), Thlopthlocco Tribal Town (Mr. Charles Coleman, Ms. Barbara Canard-Welborn, and Ms. Regina Love), and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (Ms. Lisa LaRue) in Shawnee, Oklahoma on December 13th and 14th, 2011 where discussions regarding a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the United States Forest Service, Ouachita National Forest and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests and Tribes establishing the protocols used in implementing the provisions of the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), and Executive Order 13007 (Sacred Sites) began.
The Ouachita National Forest and the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests have several responsibilities under various federal laws and regulations and Presidential Memoranda to consult with federally-recognized Indian Tribes who express interest in the lands that they manage. Over the last two years, several tribes have been participating along with the State Historic Preservation Offices of Oklahoma and Arkansas with the United States Forest Service in discussions regarding a Programmatic Agreement (PA) that would govern the implementation of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and exempt certain categories of work from the Section 106 review process on Federal land held within the administrative boundaries of the Ouachita National Forest and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests (Forests). At the direction of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the Forests have decided to take the protocols for implementing the provisions of NAGPRA and ARPA out of the PA and place them in a separate MOA.
The ONHPO works with the NHPA, NAGPRA, and ARPA regulations in concert with Federal agencies to ensure that places of historic and cultural significance to the Osage people are protected and preserved and that the physical remains of the Osage people and their ancestors currently located in museums and other institutions and items of cultural patrimony for the Osage are returned to the Nation and treated appropriately.
The Osage Nation looks forward to continuing its discussions with the Ouachita National Forest and the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests regarding cultural and historical sites of significance to the Osage people, compliance with historic preservation regulations, protecting Osage burials and human remains, and fulfilling the full intent and spirit of NAGPRA, ARPA, and Executive Order 13007.