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Tribal Cultural Resources

Assembly Bill 52 (Chapter 532, Statutes 2014) required an update to Appendix G (Initial Study Checklist) of the CEQA Guidelines to include questions related to impacts to tribal cultural resources. Section XVII “Tribal Cultural Resources” contains the added questions, which follow:

Would the project cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a tribal cultural resource, defined in Public Resources Code section 21074 as either a site, feature, place, cultural landscape that is geographically defined in terms of the size and scope of the landscape, sacred place, or object with cultural value to a California Native American tribe, and that is:

  1. a) Listed or eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources, or in a local register of historical resources as defined in Public Resources Code section 5020.1(k), or
  2. b) A resource determined by the lead agency, in its discretion and supported by substantial evidence, to be significant pursuant to criteria set forth in subdivision (c) of Public Resources Code Section 5024.1. In applying the criteria set forth in subdivision (c) of Public Resources Code Section 5024.1, the lead agency shall consider the significance of the resource to a California Native American tribe.

Tribal Consultation

AB 52 also requires public agencies; to consult with tribes during the CEQA process. The following resources provide more information on how to conduct a tribal consultation in compliance with CEQA.



Note, AB 1561 (Garcia, 2020) extended by 30 days tribes’ time for response for any housing development project application completed between March 4, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

Tribal consultation was also added as a requirement for housing projects using SB 35 streamlining. For more information, see OPR’s technical advisory on AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry, 2020).

For information on the tribal consultation required for General Plan updates, please see OPR’s guidance on SB 18 (Burton, 2004).

For More Information

Scott Morgan
Scott Morgan is OPR’s Chief Deputy Director, overseeing the daily operations of the office and leading the Administrative, State Clearinghouse and Military Affairs Teams.