Tribal and Ethnic Coordination

Archaeological site

Ethnic, Tribal, and Others Who Use and Enjoy BLM Cultural Resource Coordination with a number of Indian tribes on heritage preservation issues is a key facet of the cultural resource management program in the Pacific Northwest.

There are 38 federally recognized tribes in Oregon and Washington. Large reservations in proximity to public lands are held by the Colville, Yakama, Umatilla, and Warm Springs tribes. Many retain off-reservation treaty rights to public lands and public resources, serving to maintain a long-term link to the lands. The reserved rights and economic growth experienced since the 1980s has placed the tribes in a key position to influence public land issues.

The ongoing link to public lands involves concerns over how cultural sites, traditionally used places, and burials are treated. Of particular importance to Oregon and California tribes is the treatment of human remains and funerary objects of their ancestors. In the early 1990s, Oregon BLM completed its inventory of Native American human remains and funerary objects in repositories and published a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register. All those human remains and funerary objects in repository collections for which cultural affiliation with present day tribes could be ascertained were repatriated.

Asian populations also have a long history in the Pacific Northwest. That history is also reflected in cultural resources identified on public lands. These cultural resource sites are commonly associated with historic mining and railroad construction. It is expected that a closer working relationship with Asian American groups in the Northwest will develop in the future.