ABOUT THE PRESERVATION PROGRAM
Spokane Tribe Preservation Program (STIPP)
Following the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the 1930s and the inundation of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers in 1941, the annual migration of salmon, a food resource that local people had relied on for at least 5,000 years, was blocked. The Grand Coulee Dam increased water levels in the river valleys resulting in the flooding of people’s homes and farmland as well as causing the loss of cultural heritage sites including both ancient fisheries and village sites. This flooding brought an abrupt end to a lifeway that had sustained the Spokane Tribe since time immemorial.
As a result of this loss, the Spokane Tribe Preservation Program (STIPP) was formed in 1995 in order to preserve the cultural sites, material, and knowledge of this inundated and eroding Spokane ancestral territory. The Program focuses most of its efforts on assisting the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) Cultural Resource Program and it’s federal agencies (Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and National Park Service) with compliance of federal cultural resource laws and the mitigation of impacts to cultural resources that are caused by the reservoir operations at Grand Coulee Dam. STIPP’s work area under this contract encompasses both federal and tribal lands along the Columbia and Spokane Rivers. STIPP conducts cultural resource management tasks including: inventory survey, site condition monitoring, Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) patrols, data recoveries, burial site inspections and more. Beginning in 2002, STIPP expanded their services and began to provide cultural resource compliance surveys at the local, state, and private levels.
The STIPP houses archival records and cultural materials associated with the Spokane Tribe, and preserves them for the benefit of its membership. These collections are managed by the Archives and Collections section of the STIPP and is a resource for other departments under the Spokane Tribal Business Council, individual Tribal members, and the overall community. The Archives and Collections staff work to fulfill the mission of the Program by cataloging and preserving associated culturally significant materials from projects contracted by partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies. They also assist individuals who wish to donate culturally significant items to the Spokane Tribe. The Archives and Collections staff actively work to build the existing collections with materials that are of significance to the Tribe and preserve these items to ensure the knowledge of the Spokane Indian lifeways can be passed down to all future generations. The STIPP maintains a federally certified repository.
The Spokane Tribe of Indians vision is to achieve true sovereignty by attaining self-sufficiency. We will preserve and enhance our traditional values by living and teaching the inherent principles of respect, honor and integrity as embodied in our language and life-ways. We will develop strong leadership through education, accountability, experience and positive reinforcement.