Meyers working with U.S. Navy on sacred sites project

The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers has selected Richard Meyers, Ph.D., a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, as the main researcher and writer on a U.S. Navy project. Meyers, an assistant professor of Journalism and Mass Communications, is the Tribal RelationMeyerss director, program coordinator in American Indian Studies, South Dakota State University.

Earlier in his career, he served as the editor and writer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington DC. He earned his doctorate in anthropology at Arizona State University in 2008.

The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) recently entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy, through the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), to collaborate on a project to protect Native American sacred sites within the context of the military readiness mission across the Department of Defense (DoD). Compiling a compendium of case studies related to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian sacred sites will be the main objective of this project.

The overall approach involves developing a questionnaire to be used in soliciting nominations for case studies from Native Americans and the DoD, conducting interviews for in-depth information in developing each example, and compiling identified lessons into a final report. Case studies will include as much geographic and military service diversity as possible.

In December 2012, the DoD joined four other federal agencies in the Memorandum of Understanding, “Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indian Sacred Sites.” The DoD is joined in this effort by the departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Interior, plus the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In March 2013, the agencies released an action plan that includes developing training and guidance for federal agencies, creating and maintaining a website devoted to this topic, and reviewing confidentiality standards. Additionally, the plan includes conducting outreach to the public and non-Federal partners, compiling case studies, sharing information, and building tribal capacity.

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