The Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office (NITHPO) is a designated office of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. NITHPO is authorized to determine all matters on behalf of the Tribe with respect to historic preservation, Indian graves’ protection, and religious freedom and other relevant cultural matters. We strive to protect our ancestors’ memories, histories, and living places. Our respect, duty, and obligations to our ancestors will forever exist and remain in the minds of us all.
NITHPO and the Tribe as a whole, view archaeological site not as just archaeological sites but as finite, fragile, and non-renewable cultural resources. Any study or construction project that involves the excavation of sediments or the alteration of a resource produces an irreversible effect on the area.
Performance standards and procedures are administered by our office to ensure that archaeological studies are done properly and do not inadvertently result in the loss of cultural resources through excavation or the removal of unearthed cultural materials. The greatest challenge of this job is to protect cultural resources that contain aspects of a traditional cultural place of importance. For years, the Indigenous people of this land were left out of the process when roads were built. Countless graves and cultural resources were destroyed. But in 1992 Congress passed a measure in the National Historic Preservation Act that requires federal or state agencies to consult federally recognized tribes when a project might impinge on a historic site. This act enables the Tribe’s Historic Preservation office to consult with the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), as well as state and federal agencies concerning proposed activities that may affect properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to the Narragansett Indian Tribe.