FARMINGTON — If there is one thing that the Navajo Nation needs to preserve, it is its history.

The tribe received a $41,000 grant this week from the National Park Service to do exactly that. The grant will go toward the tribe's historic preservation department, which handles various programs. The programs include the Chaco Sites Protection Program, the Cultural Resources Compliance Program, Facilities Management, Forestry/Natural Resources Program and the Traditional Culture Program.

The grant is one of 142 grants that were given to Native American tribes across the country. Most of the grants were between $20,000 and $50,000, and altogether they totaled about $3.7 million.

"Our country's American Indian tribes embody a rich heritage of human experiences, architectural and intellectual achievements, and cultural identities," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a press release Wednesday. "These grants will help tribes preserve their important cultural sites so that all Americans can gain a greater appreciation of their rich traditions and cultures."

Tribes can use the grants to fund projects such as nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education, architectural planning, historic structure reports, community preservation plans and bricks-and-mortar repair to buildings.

Officials with the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department could not be reached this week to comment on how the Navajo Nation plans to use the grant money it received.

The Historic Preservation Fund is funded with revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, according to the press release. The National Park Service oversees the fund and distributes annual matching grants to state and tribal historic preservation officers from money made available by Congress.

More than $21.6 million also was distributed Wednesday to state historic preservation offices to help states and territories preserve and protect their sites.

This year's appropriation was decreased by about 5 percent as a result of sequestration, the press release said.

For more information about the National Park Service tribal preservation programs and grants, visit nps.gov.

Jenny Kane covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and jkane@daily-times.com. Follow her @Jenny_Kane on Twitter.