Delaware Tribe Historic Preservation Office

The mission of the Delaware Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office (DTHPO) is to ensure the protection and preservation of cultural and historic resources that are significant to Delaware tribal heritage. Because of the Delaware Tribe’s unique removal history, much of our heritage resources are either Delaware-affiliated archaeological sites and cemeteries located in the Midwest and Northeast or are in the many Delaware-affiliated museum collections that are housed in curation facilities throughout the same region.

We work to manage these important tribal resources through consultations with public and private agencies and museums as required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Much of our historic preservation and NAGPRA-related work is carried out in collaboration with the other two federally-recognized Delaware tribes (Delaware Nation of Anadarko, Oklahoma and the Stockbridge Munsee Community of Bowler, Wisconsin). Please contact Brice Obermeyer with any Historic Preservation or NAGPRA-related questions or concerns regarding the Delaware Tribe of Indians.

Brice Obermeyer
Director, Delaware Tribe Historic Preservation Office
Roosevelt Hall, Rm 212
1200 Commercial St.
Emporia, KS 66801

Historic Preservation Grants and Consultations

The DTHPO maintains and periodically updates a geospatial database of Delaware cultural and historic sites located in fourteen states from New York to Oklahoma as well as manages the use and preservation of these locations through various programs and federally-funded projects. We work daily with public agencies and private companies to review and mitigate the potential impact of federally-sponsored undertakings on these resources. Our office also seeks to raise awareness of, and further protections for, Delaware cultural and historic resources by supporting and disseminating archaeological and historic research, submitting nominations for certain sites to the National Register of Historic Places and monitoring the use of our cultural and historic resources such as tribal cemeteries and tribally-owned historic properties. The links below provide further information about our areas of interest, geospatial database, internally supported historic preservation programs and federally-funded initiatives.

NAGPRA Grants and Consultations

Our NAGPRA-related work has resulted in the protection and avoidance of several Delaware affiliated graves and the documentation and repatriation of 104 human remains and over 5600 funerary objects. With funding provided by the National NAGPRA Office, the three Delaware tribes repatriated and reburied human remains inadvertently discovered at Ellis Island in New York State (2003), as well as the much larger number of human remains and funerary objects that have been excavated from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (2009).

In addition to our successfully reburied collections, we have applied for and received funding from the National Park Service, National NAGPRA office to assist us in documenting the Delaware affiliated collections at several museums, including the State Museum of Pennsylvania, New Jersey State Museum, New York State Museum, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the New York University College of Dentistry, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian Institution has also supported our extensive consultations with the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History. Collectively, these ten institutions currently curate well over 200 Delaware affiliated human remains and over 10,000 funerary objects and it is our ultimate goal to document, repatriate and rebury the Delaware affiliated remains and funerary objects from these and other associated institutions.

The following links provide abstracts for all our past and current grants provided by the National NAGPRA Office.

Current repatriation efforts include documentation of several important sites, including:

In 2011 the DTHPO hosted a “summit” in Bartlesville, gathering together tribal members and archaeologists and other museum professionals to discuss current NAGPRA repatriation efforts.