Terry D. Cole, the first tribal historic preservation officer for the Choctaw Nation, was recently honored by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar with an annual Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation Award.
“Award winners are individuals whose contributions surpass the expected scope of their positions, and whose creativity and expertise have significantly fostered the overall goals of the National Historic Preservation Act,” read a statement from Department of the Interior.
Cole established the To Bridge a Gap conference in 2002, which facilitates communication between Native nations and the U.S. Forest Service, and he recently completed a class in archaeological law enforcement to become a certified crime scene investigator. According to an article in Native American Times, he learned what is needed to prosecute violators of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, which was enacted to protect archaeological resources on public and tribal lands.
A graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Cole has worked for the Choctaw Nation for over a decade.
Other winners included Michael Leventhal in the Certified Local Government Category, Scott B. Sheperd, III in the Federal Preservation Office Category and Ruth L. Pierpont in the State Historic Preservation Office Category.