Cultural Resource Fund

Strengthening Tribal Cultures and Historic Sites

CRF Stories

The Cultural Resource Fund (CRF) supports Tribal and State cultural and historic preservation projects for eligible grantees. The CRF was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and seven Class I freight railroads involved in the construction of Positive Train Control (PTC) poles. The MICA Group was selected to manage and administer the CRF, to be distributed in three phases of funding. Since the CRF was initially funded in early 2015, MICA has awarded and distributed 322 grants totaling almost $6.5 million to 235 Tribes and SHPOs in the first two phases of CRF grants. For additional background information on the CRF, click here.

Eligible Tribal Nations and State Historic Preservation Officers will be invited to submit applications for the third phase phase of grant funding. For more information, click here.

CRF News

Pathways to fluency MICA logo

Pathways to Fluency:

Cultural Survival Through Language Revitalization 

Dec 12 – 15, 2016

Isleta Casino and Resort, Albuquerque, NM

Download the invitation here

ATALM for CRF Logo

The CRF Advisory Board and Staff conducted a facilitated listening session to share ideas, concepts and strategies for the Pathways to Fluency Gathering, and other proposed Phase 3 funding initiatives, at the Pre-Conference Summit of the 2016 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums on October 10, 2016 in Phoenix, AZ.
For more information please visit

Phase 2 Grants

The CRF Advisory Board is very happy to announce that 87 Tribes and SHPOs received funding in Phase 2. Following is a list and brief summary of the funded projects.

Ak Chin Indian Community
Ak-Chin Language Survey

This project will develop a language survey, the results of which will be entered into a language database. Community members will conduct the survey. The results of the survey will identify levels of language fluency. The survey results will be presented to the community. The data collected will be used to inform the development of language classes that will be held in the Tribe’s new Cultural Center.

Blackfeet Tribe  
Emergence of the Blackfeet Cultural Landscape: A Survey of Early Sites

The Blackfeet Tribe will study ancient Blackfeet sites. The Tribe believes history has mischaracterized the length of time their ancestors have been in Montana. Co-­‐investigation will be with University of Arizona archaeologists with whom Tribe has worked for many years. The findings are expected to make a significant contribution to archaeological research and will be published with full support of the Tribe.

Burns Paiute Tribe
Preserving Our Wadatika Yaduan (Wadatika Language) for the People

This language preservation project will capture the verbal pronunciations of thousands of Northern Paiute words and phrases as spoken by the Wadatika Band of Northern Paiutes. Fluent Paiute Speakers within the community will be paired with Language Research Technicians trained in digital recording technology. The digital language recordings will be used in a wide variety of software applications including a Wadatika Yaduan “app” that will be available for language learning activities.

Caddo Nation   
Caddo Nation Heritage Archives, Library, and Museum Management Plan: Cataloguing, Inventorying and Documentation

The Caddo Nation’s archives are deteriorating and have been neglected for years. This proposal will recreate some cultural materials, safeguard others and allow for future expansion of the archives, library, and museum collections. New computers, hard drives, software, and a security system will be purchased. Electronic copies of documents will be created to preserve the collection and make it accessible for future generations.

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Cultural Resource Fund Stories

Pueblo of Acoma

Acoma, New Mexico

Saving the San Esteban del Rey Mission: A Plan for Preservation

The San Esteban del Rey Mission has stood the test of time and continues to be a symbol of the perseverance of the Acoma people. The first Spanish conquistador to set foot on Acoma soil described the village as “the most fortified settlement I have ever seen.” Initial construction of the mission is recorded in Spanish archives as beginning in 1640. The mission church still stands as a testament to Acoma’s ancestors who were enslaved and gave their lives for the construction of the mission. World Monuments Watch lists the mission as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. The Acoma Historic Preservation Office is tasked with restoring the critically endangered mission in five stages pursuant to a preservation plan created in 1999.  CRF funding was used to assist with emergency repairs to the mission walls due to water damage, and to fund an updated preservation plan.

Michigan SHPO

Lansing, Michigan

Collaborative Documentation, Protection and Interpretation of ezhibiigaadek asin (the Sanilac Petroglyphs)

The Michigan SHPO’s Phase 2 grant, in partnership with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, funded protection and interpretation of ezhibiigaadek asin, or Sanilac Petroglyphs. “Sanilac Petroglyphs State Park is one of the most unique places in the entire region,” said Stacy Tchorzynski, an archaeologist with the state Historic Preservation Office and the Michigan Historical Center. The 240-acre park was created in 1970 to preserve the carvings, which are Michigan’s largest known concentration of petroglyphs.

Petroglyphs are one of many ways previous generations of Anishinaabe people left information for the future. They placed important knowledge on the landscape in a permanent way, for future generations. Various tribes would gather in this area during the summers. “They would live and reside and gather from all points to share in harvesting,” said Shannon Martin, director of the Saginaw Chippewa Ziibiwing Center. “The place was just teeming with ducks, pigeons, cranberries and wild rice. And the sacred stone was there.”

Photos courtesy of Dave Wasinger / Lansing State Journal

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Towaoc, Colorado

West Mancos Survey and Site Preservation Project

The Ute Mountain Reservation in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest contains some of the most spectacular and numerous prehistoric archaeological sites in the country. Compared to Mesa Verde National Park, which borders the reservation to the northeast, sites are similar in composition and size but are generally less well understood and preserved. Phase I of this project consisted of recording and mapping three archaeological sites and completing an initial condition assessment of the standing architecture. The results indicate that the three sites varied in date and function, from the middle of the Pueblo II period (A.D. 1075 to 1125) to the late Pueblo III period (A.D. 1225-1280), painting a complex picture and raising a number of questions with regard to community, politics, history and functionality. In order to achieve further understanding and effectual preservation of these on-reservation cultural resources, the Tribe proposes developing 3-D models of each site that can be experienced and appreciated by Tribal members and future generations in perpetuity.

Northern Arapaho Tribe

St. Stephens, Wyoming

Mapping the Wind River Reservation

As nomadic high plains Native People, the Northern Arapaho lived sustainably as explorers and caretakers of their ancestral and migratory territories. Today they are committed to protecting their traditional lifeways and cultural resources by safeguarding their religion, land, language and tribal law. To this end, they have embraced technology to assist in cultural preservation by establishing a GIS database in order to map the 2.2 million acres of the Wind River Reservation. This will enable the Tribe to identify and protect sacred sites, human remains, grave sites and burials and traditional cultural grounds.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

Baraga, Michigan

Pow-Wow Grounds Improvement Project

The L’Anse Indian Reservation, located on Keweenaw Bay on Lake Superior, is both the oldest and largest reservation in Michigan, with its Ojibwa ceremonial grounds located along the shores of Lake Superior. The traditional pow-wow, Keweenaw Bay Maawanji-iding, promotes cultural preservation, education and traditional Ojibwa knowledge. Replacement of the deteriorating pow-wow ceremonial arbor will provide shelter for the drummers and protection of sacred ceremonial materials while enhancing the structure with carved pillar elements representing the four sacred directions and major clans – Marten, Bear, Fish and Eagle.

Thlopthlocco Tribal Town

Okemah, Oklahoma

Going Home Project

The deep history of complex indigenous cultures in the southeastern United States is reflected in the land, national parks and monuments, museum collections and in the collective memories of present day descendants who were forcibly removed to Indian Territory, where they now endeavor to maintain their traditions and cultural lifeways. Thlopthlocco tribal members had not stood on the soil of their homeland in 100 years. The Going Home Project enabled 30 elders, youth and family members to return to their original tribal lands in southeastern Alabama; to walk on their land, feel their ancestors’ strength and courage, experience the sense of belonging, of being at home. The grant will also support continued study of Thlopthlocco tribal history and culture.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe

Marksville, Louisiana

Tunica Language Project

Despite the losses associated with deliberate federal policies to extinguish Native cultures and languages, Tunica families have kept their language and cultural traditions alive. Although the last fluent speaker passed away 60 years ago, Tunica has worked diligently to renew their heritage and language, with beginning and mid-level language classes. This has resulted in 30 Tunika speakers with proficiency ranging from beginner to intermediate level. The Tunica Language and Culture Revitalization Program was created in 2014 to support a language training infrastructure. The CRF grant will support this program with the development of foundational resources for training classes and ongoing programs promoting language classes, cultural lifeways workshops, language camps, online content and outreach events.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Rosebud, South Dakota

Elders project: Mapping the Richness of the Sicangu Oyate

The Rosebud Elderly Advisory Council is concerned that younger generations are losing touch with valuable traditional wisdom of the Sicangu people in using the many plants indigenous to their homelands for food, cultural and medicinal purposes. Their project involves plant research, interpretation and documentation, including proper Lakota plant names, using field technicians and consultation with Elders to preserve the knowledge and uses of over 400 plant species, for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.

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