PO Box 4950
Window Rock, AZ 86515
Alan Downer has directed the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department for the past 23 years. During that period, he has lead the growth of the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department from a staff of one to one of the largest public historic preservation agencies in the United States, with a staff of 47 and an annual operating budget of over $3.5 million. In 1996, the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department was one of the initial 15 Tribal Historic Preservation Offices approved by Secretary of the Interior to assume the functions of the State Historic Preservation Officers on Tribal lands. Dr. Downer has published extensively on a variety of cultural resource management issues and Native American participation in the national historic preservation program. He was instrumental in forming the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO). He served as General Chairman for nine years. In this later capacity, Dr. Downer has represented NATHPO as an observer/member on the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Since 1999, Dr. Downer has been a member of Board of Directors of Preservation Action, a national, grassroots historic preservation advocacy organization. He has served as chair of the Policy and Programs Committee since 2005.
From 1983 to 1986, Dr. Downer worked for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in the Western Division of Project Review, Office of Cultural Resources Protection, in Denver, CO. He worked on archaeological project reviews under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Mr Downer also worked on the ACHP’s very first attempts at developing policies promoting the rights of Indian tribes’ to be involved in section 106 reviews; how agencies and the ACHP should take into account Tribal views on the nature archaeological sites; and how Native American burials should be treated.
Prior to working for the ACHP, Mr. Downer worked for the Illinois Department of Conservation, Historic Sites Division in a variety of archaeological and management positions, including providing technical support for the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer.
In 1989, Mr. Downer earned a Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he had previously earned a M.A. in Anthropological Archaeology. He holds a B.S. in Geology from Allegheny College.