NATHPO is guided by three main principles
- Tribal Sovereignty – the inherent right of Indian Nations to self-government
- Confidentiality – recognition of the need to respect the confidentiality of information regarding Native cultural and ceremonial practices and places of religious or cultural significance.
- No boundaries – NATHPO recognizes that the cultural and heritage preservation interests of Indian Nations and their peoples often extend far beyond the boundaries of present-day reservations — often crossing state and national boundaries — and stands ready to assist in activities relating to transboundary cultural and environmental issues
The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officer’s activities include, but are not limited to:
- Supporting the culture and heritage activities of the governments of federally recognized Indian tribes, particularly the activities of the various Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs).
- Providing technical assistance to THPOs and traditional religious and cultural authorities of Tribes.
- Providing technical assistance to tribal governments considering or attempting to develop Tribal Historic
- Preservation Programs in accordance with section 101(d)(2) of the National Historic Preservation Act.
- Promoting public interest, as appropriate, in tribal historic preservation and cultural preservation programs.
- Encouraging and assisting in the preservation of historic and cultural properties important to Indian tribes and Native peoples.
- Providing a forum for discussion and dissemination of ideas for more effective cultural heritage preservation programs for Tribal governments.
- Increasing public awareness, including government agencies, of the importance of the physical environment in the role and preservation of Native traditions and culture.