Tribal Consultation

Historic preservation carried out by federal and state agencies is a collaborative process that encourages communities to be involved in decisions affecting their history. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to consult with officials of federally recognized Indian tribes when a project has the potential to affect historic properties on tribal lands or historic properties of significance to such tribes that are located off  tribal lands.  It is the responsibility of the federal agency to identify the tribes that should be consulted and initiate consultation. The agency must demonstrate that they provided the appropriate tribes with a reasonable opportunity to identify their concerns about historic properties, advise on the identification and evaluation of historic properties, articulate their views on the undertaking's effects on such properties, and participate in the resolution of adverse effects.

Although there are currently no federally recognized tribes residing in Maryland, Indian tribes who now live outside the state still attach importance to historic properties located in Maryland. Many federal and state agencies have established comprehensive procedures for appropriate government-to-government cooperation between their agencies and tribes. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation offers detailed information, guidance, and training regarding consultation with tribal and indigenous peoples in historic preservation.

The Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs (MCIA) serves as the official statewide agency for Native Americans and is a good source for information and contacts on Maryland Indians. Maryland has three state recognized tribes: the Piscataway Indian Nation, the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, and the Accohannock Indian Tribe. Section 106 consultation with the MCIA and the state recognized tribes falls under the umbrella of "additional consulting parties," and is treated in the same way that an agency would consult with a local government, historical society, community organization, etc. Agencies should consult with the state-recognized tribes, if relevant to their areas of interest, and with the MCIA — as these are all official organizations.

MHT encourages federal and state agencies to engage in consultation with the relevant tribes and Indian communities at the earliest possible point in the project planning process.

Resources on Federal Tribal Consultation

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