Tribal Historic Preservation Office Functions under NHPA
National Historic Preservation Act Responsibilities & Functions
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office operates per the authority of the Tribal Council, as advised by the Advisory Review Board and as further stipulated by our THPO Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service. In 2018, the Tribe applied and was approved by the National Park Service to operate the THPO responsibility on Tribal Lands. Previously, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) operated these functions. Taking on these responsibilities is an active expression of MBPI’s sovereignty to oversee and protect their lands, culture and history.
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) established a partnership between the federal government and tribal, state, and local governments to protect, preserve, and review the responsible use of historic properties, defined as places included in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Section 106 of the NHPA created the framework for consultation requiring federal agencies to consider the proposed undertaking’s impact on historic properties before implementation, including determining how properties may be affected and resolving any adverse effects to such property. To review the full text of the NHPA, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/nhpa1966.htm
Neshnabé-ki (Pottawatomi Territory)
Today, there are seven federally recognized Pottawatomi Bands in the U.S., four Pottawatomi communities in Canada, and various Pottawatomi descendants incorporated into other Three Fires communities in Canada and the band of Mexican Kickapoo during the nineteenth century. The impacts of war, land cession treaties, and Indian removal and assimilationist policies employed by the U.S., Canada, and territorial/state governments led to the separation of the Pottawatomi Nation of the western Great Lakes. Today, Neshnabé-ki (ancestral and contemporary Pottawatomi Territory) is intersected by the current borders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In the late 1700s, Neshnabé-ki totaled more than 89 million acres. Treaties, more specifically the land cession treaties of the early nineteenth century, led to a significant reduction in land base. Neshnabé-ki includes present-day Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The Treaty of Greenville (1795) was the first treaty in which the Pottawatomi ceded land to the United States. Most of the territory now known as present-day Ohio was ceded to the U.S. under this treaty, but only impacted a portion of Neshnabé-ki. In the State of Wisconsin, Neshnabé-ki includes present-day Door Peninsula and lands south of the peninsula along the shores of mshigmé (Lake Michigan) and the banks of the kche-sippi (Mississippi River). Throughout the 1820s and 1830s, most of the Pottawatomi lands in Indiana and Illinois were ceded to the Federal Government, which led to some of the first Pottawatomi relocations west of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory.
The last land cession treaty that ceded Pottawatomi lands in the Great Lakes to the United States was the Treaty of Chicago in 1833. After the Treaty, some Pottawatomi relocated to Iowa and Kansas, while some escaped northward to Canada to avoid removal west of the Mississippi River. From 1838 to 1842, U.S. government and military leaders and state and territory militia pursued several forced removals of the Pottawatomi living in present-day northern Indiana and southern Michigan, including the 1838 Trail of Death, which forced various Pottawatomi villages and bands to leave their homelands for lands west of the Mississippi River in Indian Territory. Several Pottawatomi Bands were able to avoid or escape the forced removals and remain near their historic village sites in their traditional territory in the Great Lakes region, including the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. However, the Pottawatomi Bands who remained in southern Michigan were not federally recognized until the 1990s.
The Pottawatomi Bands still maintain close connections and relationships to the lands and waterways throughout Neshnabé-ki. It remains imperative to the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi to protect the mounds and burials, archeological sites, and other important cultural resources that permeate the lands and waterways of Neshnabé-ki.