Topic ID #24079 - posted 10/19/2012 9:32 AM

2,000-year-old bison bone bed 'destroyed'


Wow, this made me mad:

Nothing like a big company doing a crappy job of compliance.

Post ID#19811 - replied 10/19/2012 12:57 PM


Until we get tougher cultural resource laws, regulations, and enforcement, a whole lot of compliance ain't worth doodly squat.

That's right, I said doodly squat.

Post ID#19820 - replied 10/22/2012 8:49 AM

SHPO Grunt

It looks to me that OSM and, particularly, the Crow THPO really dropped the ball on this one.

Post ID#19822 - replied 10/22/2012 11:23 AM


Pretty appalling.

One issue to note is that the governmental organization within the Crow government appeared to be too opaque (or maybe it was conveniently manipulated by the project proponent and the consultant). It is an issue that many of us face when we try to consult with appropriate tribal representatives. Who is truly authorized to speak for the tribe? Are there factions within the tribe that are vying for power? How do I approach each side and maintain both the fact and appearance of being independent of the power dynamics?

Post ID#19823 - replied 10/22/2012 12:31 PM

SHPO Grunt

FireArch, you have said a mouthful.  Before I say anything else, I want to say this;  If I were an archaeological consultant I would flat out refuse to even attempt Native American consultation.  For one thing, it doesn't count.  NA consultation is a government to government consultation, it pretty much must be carried out by the lead federal agency in order to fulfill the requirements of 106.  It has also been my experience that it insults the tribes that the federal agency is sending a non-decision making entity, or a non-governmental representative as specified in the regulations, to consult with them. The odds of you getting any useful information is minimal.

That said, your comments concerning competing factions within tribes is spot on, and who has the authority to speak for the tribe varies from tribe to tribe, and within tribes depending on the last election.  Keeping up with who can, or cannot, speak for any given tribe can be challenging.  It is generally best to find out from the Tribal Council who  to speak to.  And then realize that they will probably have to go back and present what you discuss with them to the Tribal Council before you will get an answer.  This can take a long time.  And note, there are no "30 day" review times for NA consultation, it takes as long as it takes. 

Post ID#19828 - replied 10/22/2012 8:42 PM


By way of clarification I was speaking in terms of consulting as a person/anthropologist/archaeologist/professional consultant/heritage manager, etc. with the tribe/group/individual(s), not as the agency puppet consulting with the tribe in lieu of the government actually carrying out their Government to Government consultation obligation (I dont play that game).


Post ID#19834 - replied 10/25/2012 7:34 AM


I will throw in what I know for now on this as it happened right here in my backyard so to speak.  According to follow up news accounts of this situation, there in fact had been government to government consultations on this site since 2005.  A Memorandum of Agreement was then drawn up and signed by the various government agencies and the Crow Tribal government in 2008.  The excavation of the site began in 2009 and wrapped up in 2011.  Tribal monitors were present during all the work that was done there.

The controversy seems to have erupted after the work had been completed and to my understanding is directly related to the upcoming tribal elections that will be held Nov. 3rd on the reservation.  The objections being raised surrounding this excavation are coming from the the political faction on the reservation that is seeking to retain the current tribal chairman.  To that end I would add that the THPO involved in the MOA back in 2005-2009 is related to the current tribal vice chairman who is seeking to oust the current tribal chairman.

And to complicate things even more, the FBI launched an investigation earlier this week into the THPO finances.  Those interviewed are of the same political group that authorized the excavations and who now are seeking to oust the current tribal chairman.  They are asserting that they are being targeted by those supporting the current chairman in an attempt to prevent their candidate for tribal chairman from winning in the upcoming elections on Nov. 3rd.

As far as the outside archaeologist who was brought in by those supporting the current tribal chairman, I am not sure what to think of him.  On the one hand he is now saying everything was done by the book but that it "was a faulty process".  He is also now stating that all the Northern Plains Tribes should have been consulted and involved, that the tribe should have been consulted at every stage as the MOA was developed, and that the THPO should have been given a chance to comment. 

Well from what I have read and heard here locally, the tribe was consulted at every stage of the process and the THPO and tribal cultural committee did sign off on the MOA with tribal government concurrence (in 2008).  As far as the out-of-state archaeologist stating that there should have been consultation and involvement of all the Northern Plains Tribes, to that I say good luck.  This site is located smack dab within the Crow reservation and in all my years working out here I have never ever heard of any tribe deferring to and involving other tribal groups on matters taking place on and affecting their own reservation.

Anyway that is what I know on this for now.

Post ID#19835 - replied 10/25/2012 12:27 PM


a bit of checking found the following available on line.  The ROD states: 

- Cultural Resources - The Absaloka Mine is located on the traditional cultural

territory of the Crow Tribe, and the South Extension development plan would

extend the mining operation onto the present day Crow Reservation.

Consultation with indigenous tribes and the participation of Crow tribal

representatives on the cultural resource inventories and site evaluations are

covered in the Cultural Resources section (Section 3.12) of the Draft EIS.

Based on recent cultural resource inventories and site evaluations, no Native

American heritage, traditional cultural, special interest, or sacred sites have

been formally recorded to date within the proposed development area. Cultural

properties that are determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic

Places will be avoided or a data recovery plan will be implemented prior to

disturbance. The plan has been developed in consultation with the Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

Section 3.12 of the DEIS  seems to suggest that consultation is ongoing - no evidence that any agreements had been reached yet.  Then in the FEIS identifies that a MOA for Data Recovery was prepared, but does not include any additional info on it or the process.
So far I have been unable to track down the MOA itself to see who signed it/when or to find a full record of Tribal Consultation.  There are documents out there that will establish the facts.  "The Truth is out there"

Sorry - it just struck me.....


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