Tribal Historic Preservation Office
The goal of the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) is to protect the cultural resources of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. Our environmental resources are also our cultural resources, both in part what make us who we are and deepen the connections we have to our lands.
THPO is a federally appointed position established by Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966. This regulation requires Federal agencies, and those using federal funding, or who are on federal land, to take into account the effects of the undertakings on historic properties, traditional cultural properties, and cultural resources.
Role of the THPO
- We protect those resources through the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, which outlines the protection of cultural resources and traditional cultural properties. We locate and identify those traditional sites, items, structures and practices, and register them in the national archive, preserving their significance.
- Criteria for the national register include the history of the property, how the tribe has used or relied upon it to engage in cultural traditions, as well as the continued use of the area, structure or item. Many of our registered cultural properties are still in use today by the tribe.
- We review permits and applications for projects such as new housing, building development, mooring buoy and other marine installations like docks and marinas to make sure our cultural, historical, and environmental resources are preserved.
- When there is an inadvertent discovery during a project, it gives us a chance to learn more about our rich history that so often is trapped underground.
- With more development comes loss of land. The loss of our traditional lands comes at the cost of our lost history. It is my job to preserve as much as I can within my role.
What Can You Do?
This position is about preserving our rights, resources, and our culture. To date there are only 183 Tribes with an appointed THPO. PGST took on the role in 2012. We are now able to restore our rights and our culture as never before, and it is increasingly important that we not allow these defining properties to slip away, taking our tribal history and identity with them.
If you have knowledge of traditional places, areas, fishing grounds, or resources that need to be preserved, I encourage you to come share that. Our oral tradition of passing on knowledge is the only way to bring to light these important resources. It is my job to protect them and I can only do that if I know about them.
Stormy Purser is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. Her office is currently located at Heronswood but can be reached through the Tribal Center, or Natural Resources. She is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 430 p.m. You can call Stormy at (360) 979-9485 or email email@example.com anytime if you have questions or want to talk about what we have going on.