Highlighted THPO

Confederated Tribes of
the Colville Reservation, Washington
(Colville Confederated Tribes)

"Protecting the future, preserving the past"


  • Tribal Population: Approximately 9200 enrolled members
  • Twelve tribes make up the confederacy: Colville, Nespelem, San Poil, Lakes, Okanogan, Methow, Entiat, Wenatchi, Moses-Columbia, Chelan, Palus, and Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce
  • Agency Headquarters Location:   Nespelem, Washington - North Eastern Washington State 
  • Nearest "big" city:  Spokane, Washington - two (2) hours away by vehicle 
  • Executive Order Tribe created April 9, 1872
  • Tribe has retained hunting, fishing and gathering areas in aboriginal territories

Land Base:

  • Current THPO/Tribal Land base:  1.4 million acres 
  • Aboriginal land base (including ceded area):   40 million acres including parts of southern British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho and Washington and 20 million acres alone in the State of Washington 
  • Comparison to state land base (reservation size): About the size of the State of Delaware

Basic THPO functions and activities:

  • Ensure all Section 106 compliance for the Tribe.  We assist federal agencies and other agencies with meeting their obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 106 
  • Assist the Colville Business Council with traditional information
  • Conduct cultural resources surveys prior to federal undertakings and Fire Management projects
  • Conduct archaeological surveys and Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) studies on the reservation and on land within our traditional territories 
  • Maintain records of cultural and archaeological sites on the Colville Reservation using GIS
  • Confront problems of inadvertent discoveries of human remains and burials on an average of three per year 
  • Create and maintain agreements with federal agencies and Public Utility Districts
  • Respond to informational requests and educate the public about the importance of reporting any archaeological sites, burials and looting
  • Participate in a data sharing agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)
  • Developed a Cultural Resources Management Plan (CRMP) for reservation lands.
  • Developing a Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) reservoir
  • Contract with federal agencies to conduct cultural resources management on reservation lands and within our traditional territories
  • Maintain and manage a federally recognized Repository
  • Maintain curation agreements for housing collections
  • Maintain cemetery records and in process of developing a cemetery ordinance

  • Gather and maintain information from our elders through oral history interviews that tell us about our history, language, and legends
  • Develop and maintain a photograph database
  • Develop and provide a book of legends and curriculum aides for schools
  • Develop oral history information into educational films (DVD's) 
  • Provide public outreach ? we visit schools at least five times per year 
  • Work with historical societies
  • Preserve and protect historic structures
  • Implement our sovereignty and tribal rights for hunting, fishing, and gathering 


  • Nineteen (19) full-time staff, include two tribal elders; TCP Specialist and Certified Language Instructor
  • Nine (9) seasonal employees

Of Note: Colville was one of the first twelve Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, 1996

Photo Captions:

  • Colville Confederated Tribes Staff 2007
  • Colville Confederated Tribes Archaeological Monitoring and Survey 2005
  • Colville Confederated Tribes Tribal Archaeologist Field Trip 2004
  • Colville Confederated Tribes Oral History Tour 2003
  • Colville Confederated Tribes Archaeology Excavation 2006
  • Colville Confederated Tribes Repository 2006