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Cultural Resources

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has adopted the the following Tribal Policy Principles:

  • Tribal Sovereignty
  • Trust Responsibility  
  • Government-to-government relations
  • Pre-decisional consultation  
  • Self reliance, capacity building and growth  
  • Natural and Cultural Resources management and protection 

USACE established these principles upon those outlined in the Constitution and treaties, as well as those established by Federal laws, regulations and Executive Orders, which continue to guide our national policy towards Tribal Nations. 

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers acts to fulfill obligations to preserve and protect trust resources, comply with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and ensure reasonable access to sacred sites.

Cultural Resources
Among these efforts is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Natural Resources and Cultural Resources program.

USACE searches for ways to involve Tribes in programs, projects and other activities that build economic capacity and manage Tribal resources while preserving cultural identities through collaborative processes designed to ensure information exchange, consideration of disparate viewpoints before and during decision making, and utilize fair and impartial dispute resolution.

USACE works to meet trust obligations, protect trust resources, and obtain Tribal views of trust and treaty responsibilities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has lasting and positive relations with many tribal governments.  All USACE Commands adhere to principles of respect for Tribal governments and honor our Nation's trust responsibility. 

Remains and Cultural Objects

On October 31, 2008, then Northwestern Division Commander, Brig. Gen. William E. Rapp, signed two implementation plans that streamline the process for the reburial of Native American remains and cultural items within the Northwestern Division region. Those plans are available below.

NAGPRA Status and Implementation Plan
The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) allows for the disposition and repatriation of Native American human remains and certain cultural items to culturally affiliated Indian tribes. The NAGPRA Status and Implementation Plan outlines roles and responsibilities and establishes forms to track compliance status. (.pdf, 579 KB)

Section 208 WRDA Status and Implementation Plan
Section 208 of the WRDA of 2000 gives the Corps authority to set aside areas at civil works projects to rebury Native American remains at government expense. The Section 208 Water Resources Development Act Status and Implementation Plan provides consistent practices for establishing new reburial areas and formalizes those areas which have already been used by the tribes for the burial of human remains. (.pdf, 710 KB)

Tribal and Cultural Policy and Guidance

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tribal Policy Principles. Policy Guidance Letter No. 57 (18 Feb 1998)

Northwestern Division Regulation 5-1-1 Provides information on specific Northwestern Division projects and initiatives involving tribes.