Fort Peck currently contains only three historic buildings that have been register through the National Registrar of Historic Places (NRHP). These are all located within the old Poplar River Agency Complex, and designated as National Historic Places in 1971. Due to the area’s relative isolation, high cost of renovation, and associated health and safety issues, the Fort Peck Tribes are working to record and mitigate this complex.
The Fort Peck Reservation has thousands of archaeological sites, approximately all of which need NRHP evaluation. Because this evaluation could cost the tribes millions of dollars, CRD is seeking financial support from state and federal granting agencies. The CRD seeks to provide the highest possible level of protection for its cultural properties. Site protection is particularly important since many cultural properties still require testing to determine NRHP eligibility. The CRD views site protection as a crucial element in the success of the Tribes’ objective, particularly given the MR&I proposed water project.
Monitoring and protecting the Reservation’s cultural resources is difficult given Fort Peck’s size, terrain, high number of cultural properties, relatively small program staff. Nevertheless, the CRD monitors as many areas as possible, and has maintained its high standards through the use of traditional and innovative site protection techniques.
The CRD staff advises Reservation personnel and members of the surrounding communities concerning the nature of resources on the Reservation, their importance, and their fragility. This has been accomplished through videos, briefings, site tours, Tribal and local newspaper articles, and exhibits at community events. Additional site protection measures include the demarcation of sites on Reservation maps to assist planners and developers.
The CRD and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Fort Peck Agency, work close to coordinate and maintain these protective measures. These programs create a sense of partnership in site protection efforts, and a sense of pride in Fort Peck’s cultural heritage.
The CRD plans data recovery only for sites with a high impact threat. Most sites are left in situ unless they are subject to significant impact from construction activities. The CRD works with Tribal and local communities in planning to avoid sites whenever possible. Data recovery is then reserved for sites for which impact cannot be avoided.
From FY 1995-2005, the CRD presented papers at numerous workshops and conferences, including, the Cultural Fair and Youth Symposium, the Spring Fest and Wacipi, Homeland Security Conferences, Montana Governors Cultural Sensitivity Training. The program welcomes, and strongly encourages, research on the Reservation’s cultural resources by its young Tribal members.