Albert M. LeBeau, III
Path to Preservation:
Wanting to be an archaeologist and then studying to become one, the path kind of just appeared to me. I knew that protecting archaeological sites and sacred sites is an important thing to do, so I took on that commitment, and wanted to learn how protect and preserve these irreplaceable resources.
How did you become a preservationist?
I really didn't start down the preservation road until I became the Historical Archaeologist for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and then later, the THPO. I had to look not only at archaeological sites, but historic structures as well. This was interesting to me and with the help of the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office I was able to gain more education in these resources. However my first love is always archaeology, and working with federal, state, and local agencies to develop mitigation in protecting these sites.
What was your roadmap to engaging with the organized historic preservation movement?
Being the Archaeologist/THPO for my tribe I was kind thrust onto the road, but I first listened to what other had to say, and then formed my opinion. But I think the major event that happened was when I started with the Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the management of the Missouri River Mainstem Dam System. During this process I learned the legality of what preservation meant.
How did you become familiar with the National Trust for Historic Preservation?
I started working with the Trust during the PA process.
Value of Diversifying the Preservation Movement:
I think the value of diversifying the Preservation movement is getting more of the stories that are important to not only the local populations but on a national level
Why is preservation relevant to Native American's?
Preservation allows for a safe and legal means to tell the other side of the story related to American History
Can you tell us something about your own experience as a THPO?
Oh the stories I can tell…but the one thing that sticks out is developing a working relationship with preservationists, they can be a help in educating the general populace.
Is there a personal story about historic preservation playing a role in your life you'd like to share? I have been assisting a friend with a renovation project of an historic German from Russia house barn in southeast South Dakota. During this time I have learned a lot about a new culture that has an important role in the shaping of the Midwest. By assisting with this project I have been able to see the relationships between the hardships of this population with the Native Population in America
What value do you see in the Native American Heritage in Preservation landing page?
I hope that this page can be used as a resource for Native American Preservationists in making connections with others.
How can preservation be more inclusive and helpful to tribal groups?
I feel that preservation groups in general have missed an opportunity for a partnership that can lead to the better protection of historic sites. I think education of the preservation community and Indian country is necessary and the groups will have to learn to operate within each other's cultures.