The following information provides guidance to selected parties who need to consult with American Indian tribes. While the Texas Historical Commission provides these guidelines to help facilitate consultations, responsibility for consultation rests on federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as other organizations with consultation requirements.
Determining Tribal Contacts
Federal law and policy requires consultation to occur with Indian tribes that have been federally recognized. Federally recognized Indian tribes are those that have been formally acknowledged by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Federal Acknowledgment, the U.S. Congress, or a federal court as descendants of an historical Native American tribe. Federally recognized Indian tribes have rights of self-governance and are eligible to receive services and participate in programs offered by the federal government. Federal agencies and those to whom they delegate their responsibilities for consultation are not required to consult with non-federally recognized tribes; however, these groups may have valuable insight that pertains to specific projects. Non-federally recognized tribes have a legal right to comment on projects as "interested parties."
Currently, Texas has three tribal communities living within state boundaries and at least 24 other communities with historic ties to Texas. Depending on the scope and nature of your project, you may have to consult with multiple tribes.
To determine the tribes with which you should consult:
- Refer to the tribal Area of Interest Maps below.
- Consult the National Park Service (NPS) NAGPRA database or tribal websites for contact information.
- Contact the Southern Plains Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Browse local historical and archival documents for references to Indian tribes that have inhabited the project area.
Many tribes have appointed Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) or other representatives to oversee preservation efforts on tribal and ancestral lands and coordinate repatriation programs. The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers maintains a list of THPOs recognized by the NPS as having assumed the duties of State Historic Preservation Officers on tribal lands.
- If a tribe has a designated THPO or point of contact for historic preservation activities, contact that individual about the project first.
- If the tribe does not have a THPO or point of contact for historic preservation activities, contact a tribal executive such as a tribal council chairperson or president.
Area of Interest Maps
These maps are intended for guidance purposes only. They should be used in conjunction with other references to determine which tribes should be consulted. Most of the tribes with historic ties to Texas do not reside within the state; however, this does not eliminate consultation responsibilities. Additionally, these maps are not intended to convey any information about tribal interests outside of the current boundaries of the State of Texas. Please be aware that tribal interest areas may change as new discoveries provide information about historic tribal territories. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the tribes in the development of the following maps. The THC also appreciates the assistance of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for the use of several of their maps.
- Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
- Jicarilla Apache Nation
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation
- Osage Nation
- Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma
- Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas
Below is a list of tribes with known interests in Texas but for whom an Area of Interest Map is not available at this time. Please contact these tribes directly for areas of interest. (Refer to Tribal Contacts.)
- Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas
- Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
- Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
- Caddo Nation
- Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
- Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
- The Delaware Nation
- Kialegee Tribal Town
- Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas
- Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
- Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
- Mescalero Apache Tribe
- Poarch Band of Creek Indians
- Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
- Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
- Thlopthlocco Tribal Town
- Tunica-Biloxi Tribe
- United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians
- Wichita and Affiliated Tribes
Want to provide an updated map? Please contact Archeology Division at the THC.