New report seeks to highlight best practices in historic preservation
By Jenna Kunze
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) – an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on policy – has released a report on the protection of indigenous sacred sites.
The report analyzes the components of a pre-existing historic preservation best practices law and identifies provisions relevant to Native American tribes. It is titled “The National Historic Preservation Act as a Model for the Protection of Indigenous Sacred Places in Other Nations”.
The advisory council conducted the analysis in response to a 2014 request from the Hualapai Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, during nation-to-nation consultations leading up to the United Nations Conference on Indigenous Issues.
At the time, spokespersons for both tribes gave verbal testimony and submitted written comments suggesting that “working with native Indian tribes on the preservation of places that have religious and cultural significance” be added to the discussion during the World Conference. The two Indian tribes also suggested that the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which, among other things, requires federal agencies to work with Indian tribes to review effects on historic properties, could serve as a model for other countries. .
The report includes relevant Indigenous protection laws in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
“The report is an invaluable contribution to understanding historic preservation in a global context,” said Dorothy Lippert, Tribal Liaison Officer at the National Museum of Natural History Repatriation Office in Washington, DC. “For Indigenous people, there is a real sense of being connected through similar histories and similar perspectives. This is an excellent compilation of information and sources; I think my colleagues will find it extremely useful.
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