(Source: HUD) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today unveiled a new and improved online data tool to help HUD, state and local planning agencies, and others more clearly identify federally recognized Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and Alaska Natives so they can consult with them on development projects in places that have tribal historic, environmental and cultural significance.
HUD’s announcement comes as the White House this week hosted the 2012 Tribal Nations Conference, a gathering of representatives from hundreds of federally recognized American Indian tribes, and Alaska Native Villages
HUD’s Tribal Directory Assessment Tool (TDAT) is an online database that contains information about federally recognized Indian tribes and their geographic areas of current and ancestral interest down to the county level. It lists names and contact information for tribal leaders and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) allowing users to query by street address, county, state, and tribe. Information generated from TDAT can be exported in spreadsheet format for use in other programs.
“This tool is a vast improvement in how we approach federally funded development to ensure the full participation of tribal communities,” said Mark Johnston, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. “With just a few clicks, planners will literally be building a bridge to those stakeholders with a deep, even spiritual interest in how these lands are developed.”
TDAT 2.0 was developed by HUD’s Office Community Planning and Development (CPD). TDAT 2.0 improves upon an earlier version developed in 2008 by offering lists of tribal interest by street address and county, and by including an export to Excel function.
Federally funded development projects undergo an extensive environmental review to ensure compliance with a wide range of federal standards and regulations. This includes a review of potential impacts to historic and archeological resources commonly known as the Section 106 review process, named after the relevant section of the National Historic Preservation Act. This section of the Act requires consultation about historic properties of religious and cultural significance to tribal communities. It further requires HUD and/or other ‘responsible entities’ to make a reasonable and good faith effort to identify federally recognized Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and Alaska Natives and to consult with them on projects that may impact historic properties of significance to them.