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Cultural Resources Documents

  • Antiquities Act of 1906 - Early legislative attempt to protect American Indian cultural resources.  This act allowed for the protection of historic and prehistoric resources through the establishment of National Monuments.
  • Historic Sites Act of 1935 - “It is hereby declared that it is a national policy to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings, and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States.”
  • Reservoir Salvage Act of 1960 (amended as the Archeological and Historic Preservation Act) - Provides “for the preservation of historical and archeological data (including relics and specimens) which might otherwise be irreparably lost or destroyed as the result of (1) flooding, … and other alterations of the terrain caused by the construction of a dam by any agency of the United States, or by any private person or corporation holding a license issued by any such agency or (2) any alteration of the terrain caused as a result of any Federal construction project or federally licensed activity or program.”
  • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended through 2006 Establishes Federal policy to work “in partnership with the States, local governments, Indian tribes, and private organizations and individuals to … foster conditions under which our modern society and our prehistoric and historic resources can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”  Section 106 of the Act requires that Federal agencies “take into account the effect of the [an] undertaking on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register” and “afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation … a reasonable opportunity to comment…”
  • Protection of Historic Properties (36 CFR 800) - The implementing regulations for Section 106 of the NHPA.  Establishes a process by which Federal agencies consult with State, tribal, and local governments, and the public, to identify and mitigate adverse effects to historic properties.
  • Procedures for State, Tribal, and Local Government Historic Preservation Programs (36 CFR 61) - Establishes regulations for the approval of State historic preservation programs and certified local governments under the NHPA.
  • National Natural Landmarks Program (36 CFR 62) - “The National Natural Landmarks Program identifies and preserves natural areas that best illustrate the biological and geological character of the United States, enhances the scientific and educational values of preserved areas, strengthens public appreciation of natural history, and fosters a greater concern for the conservation of the nation’s natural heritage.”
  • Determinations of Eligibility for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (36 CFR 63) - “These regulations have been developed to assist Federal agencies in identifying and evaluating the eligibility of properties for inclusion in the National Register” as required by Executive Order 11593, the NHPA, and the implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800.
  • National Historic Landmarks Program (36 CFR 65) - "The purpose of the National Historic Landmarks Program is to identify and designate National Historic Landmarks, and encourage the long range preservation of nationally significant properties that illustrate or commemorate the history and prehistory of the United States.”
  • Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended - Requires Federally issued permits to “excavate or remove any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands…” and prohibits the excavation, removal, damage/defacement of “…any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands…” without such permit.  Establishes criminal and civil penalties for violation of prohibited acts.
  • Protection of Archaeological Resources: Uniform Regulations (32 CFR 229) - Pursuant to the ARPA, these regulations establish uniform definitions, permitting requirements, and penalties under the Act.  Includes definitions of types of cultural materials, the required qualifications for permittees, Federal ownership of materials from public lands, and the process for determining civil and criminal penalties.
  • Curation of Federally-Owned and Administered Archaeological Collections (36 CFR 79) - “The regulations in this part establish definitions, standards, procedures and guidelines to be followed by Federal agencies to preserve collections of prehistoric and historic material remains, and associated records recovered under the authority of …” applicable laws.
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, as amended - Requires museums and Federal agencies to inventory, identify, and return to lineal descendants any “Native American human remains and associated funerary objects” in their possession.  The Act also requires consultation and a permitting process in the event of the discovery, excavation, and/or disturbance of such remains and objects; and, prohibits the trafficking of any protected cultural items defined in the Act.
  • NAGPRA Final Rule (43 CFR 10) - “This final rule establishes definitions and procedures for lineal descendants, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, museums, and Federal agencies to carry out the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.  These regulations develop a systematic process for determining the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to certain Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony with which they are affiliated.”
  • Reburial and Conveyance Authority - Section 208 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-541) -“In consultation with affected Indian tribes, the Secretary may identify and set aside areas at civil works projects of the Department of the Army that may be used to rebury Native American remains that … have been discovered on project land” and “the Secretary may convey to an Indian tribe for use as a cemetery an area at a civil works project…”
  • Reburial (Section 208) Policy Guidance - “This memorandum provides initial implementation guidance for Section 208 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000), Public Law 106-541.”
  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 - “It shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.”
  • Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 - “Any abandoned shipwreck in or on the public lands of the United States is the property of the United States Government.  Any abandoned shipwreck in or on any Indian lands is the property of the Indian tribe owning such lands.”  “The law of salvage and the law of finds shall not apply to abandoned shipwrecks…” on public or Indian lands.
  • Sunken Military Craft Act - The United States retains “right, title, and interest of” sunken military craft “regardless of when the sunken military craft sank.”  The Act prohibits the possession, disturbance, removal, or injury of such craft.  This Act has been applied to sunken military craft of the Confederate States and may be applicable to sunken military craft of American Indian tribes.
  • American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 - “…the Secretary of the Interior … shall encourage, support, assist, recognize, and work in partnership with citizens, Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, other public entities, educational institutions, and private nonprofit organizations in identifying, researching, evaluating, interpreting, and protecting historic battlefields and associated sites on a National, State, and local level.”
  • Executive Order 11593 – Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment (13 May 1971) - “The Federal Government shall provide leadership in preserving, restoring and maintaining the historic and cultural environment of the Nation.”  This order requires agencies of the executive branch to “administer the cultural properties under their control in a spirit of stewardship and trusteeship for future generations…”
  • Executive Order 13007 – Indian Sacred Sites (24 May 1996) Federal agencies of the Executive branch shall “(1) accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and (2) avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.”
  • Executive Order 13287 - Preserve America (03 Mar 2003) - “The Federal Government shall recognize and manage the historic properties in its ownership as assets that can support department and agency missions while contributing to the vitality and economic well-being of the Nation’s communities and fostering a broader appreciation for the development of the United States and its underlying values.”