There is a lack of consistent approaches among Transportation Agencies and SHPOs towards integrating Tribal knowledge into the process of identifying, evaluating and recording of the types of features and sites that may possess intrinsic values important to the continued well-being of indigenous peoples. Typically, archaeologists are charged with the identification, evaluation and recordation of such features and sites. Although technically proficient in Western scientific methods, most non-Native, academically trained archaeologists are challenged in making a determination of what Tribal cultural and spiritual values are likely to be ascribed to certain features and sites without significant input from Tribal representatives and thoughtful integration of Tribal knowledge into the assessment.
An example of sites that possess intrinsic values important to the well-being of indigenous peoples are stone features on the Northern Plains. These stone feature sites are the equivalent of a history book to the Tribes from a time before the written word was adopted. Excavation of these sites disrupts the written history in stone and breaks the spiritual connection. Yet identification and evaluation of these stone features are typically done without tribal expertise and excavation of these resources persists.