The Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) is responsible for the management of cultural resources significant to the Tribe, such as archaeological sites, burials, trails, buildings or other structures, resource gathering areas (plants, minerals), and sacred places (springs, hills, etc.). Protecting cultural sites is a way of respecting the past. It maintains connection to the land, binds together the community through a common history, ancestry, and records information about the past for future generations.
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office reviews proposed development projects for their potential to impact historic properties and cultural resources important to the Tribe and/or eligible for the Tribal register, California Register of Historical Resources, or National Register of Historic Places. The THPO develops policies and consult with Coachella Valley cities, and Riverside County, on California Environmental Quality Act and other state-regulated documents. The THPO consults with federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service to mitigate adverse impacts significant resources.
The Agua Caliente Archive is the depository of all documentation related to cultural resources on Reservation and traditional usage areas. The THPO maintains a database of cultural sites. They also maintain a reference library of materials related to Agua Caliente, the Cahuilla, and of materials related to Historic Preservation and cultural resource management.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (ACBCI) established the Agua Caliente Tribal Register of Heritage Places (Tribal Register) in 2018 to maintain a library of culturally significant sites. The Register includes important places such as viewscapes, features, places, landscapes, districts, or objects that possess Cahuilla cultural significance and maintain integrity of locations, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
The ACBCI assumed the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) responsibilities in the 2005 THPO agreement with the National Park Service. National Register applications for consideration of properties on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation must be submitted to the THPO for review.
The tribe has designated people, or Cultural Monitors, that observe construction activities as a mitigation measure resulting from the consultation process during environmental review. After the review process the recommendations from the THPO are compiled into requirements by the agency- either in conditions of approval or as mitigation measures. Each year their monitoring team observes construction activities at large projects, cell towers, private homes, and Tribal projects. In addition, THPO cultural monitors participate in archaeology projects (survey, testing and excavation) and trainings.
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