Brockington began its tribal consultation efforts with the proposed Eisenhower Parkway Extension highway in Macon, Georgia, a complex, nationally controversial project. This proposed road would have crossed the "Ocmulgee Old Fields" areas of former native farmland that the Creek and Seminole tribes considered a significant Traditional Cultural Property or TCP. We were engaged by Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration as part of an Environmental Impact Study to facilitate tribal consultations. We spoke at a number of public and agency meetings, and carried out field studies and predictive models to analyze possible highway alternatives. From these diverse strategies, we developed a formal Determination of Eligibility document.
Through this first major tribal consultation effort in the Southeast, all parties developed an understanding, which has since continued to thrive over the past 15 years.
From this beginning, Brockington has carried out a number of large and small consultation projects. These include a land exchange between Fort Benning and the City of Columbus, Georgia for which our negotiations became nationally prominent. We were able to forge close, lasting relationships between several parties in these early discussions; Fort Benning, Columbus, and all the Southeastern tribes continue to work closely together today.
Brockington was asked to facilitate another landmark project, the South Lawrence Trafficway near Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Working closely with Kansas DOT, its consultant HNTB, and the Kansas City District of the Corps of Engineers, we designed a consultation program that involved more than 500 tribes across the nation. Our work was instrumental in recognizing HINU’s concerns and obtaining a Record of Decision for the EIS, clearing the way for permits for the project.
We continued to work with tribes and agencies across the nation with agencies such as the Mississippi DOT and the Federal Rail Authority in Tupelo. We also facilitated consultations for major projects with the FHWA and South Carolina DOT’s first face-to-face consultation with tribes. As a result of the Memorandum of Agreement, many later-discovered aboriginal burials were protected. Once again, this first step created relationships that remain strong today.
We now work closely with over 20 tribes, often building mutual understanding though visits with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers on their own lands. We held consultations in our offices concerning repatriation and reburial of discovered human remains. We have been invited by tribes to make presentations at national and regional Native American conferences, including the National NAGPRA Summit in Oklahoma City; Five Tribes cultural committee meetings in Oklahoma City and Tulsa; and the United Southern and Eastern Tribes meetings in Washington, D.C.
Brockington organized and managed consultation meetings for the Tennessee Valley Authority, several US Navy bases, US Army and National Guard installations, and Corps of Engineers districts.
Recently, FHWA and the Morris Udall Foundation’s US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in Tucson, Arizona selected Brockington to facilitate a crucial organizing meeting among the Tennessee DOT and tribes interested in the state as a former homeland area. This conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding specifying day-to-day working relationships between the parties on all types of TDOT undertakings.
We greatly enjoy working with Native American nations, and we appreciate the unique perspectives they bring to history and archaeology in America. Our goal in tribal consultations is to give a respectful voice to all peoples and beliefs. Only then, can we reach a resolution in which all parties come away winners.
For more information on Tribal Consultation, please contact Dr. Eric Poplin at email@example.com.