The National Environmental Policy Act and other laws require American Indian cultural resource studies as part of the environmental impact assessment of development projects. Indian people make two general types of responses: holistic conservation ("this land is mine, go away") and cultural triage ("if you go ahead with the project then these are the cultural resources that require most protection"). The analysis is based on 11 cultural resource projects. The major findings are that (1) more policy impacts can be achieved by having both types of responses, (2) the research methods can influence whether or not both types of responses will be provided by Indian people, and (3) Indian people experience emotional and social risks when they engage in cultural triage.

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