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135 Chapter 6 Federal Agency Perspective C. TIMOTHY McKEOWN, EMILY PALUS, JENNIFER RIORDAN, and RICHARD WALDBAUER The federal agencies who must comply with NAGPRA have a variety of missions that are defined in the statutes that created them. Often those missions are characterized as “conservation” or “multiple-use” when it comes to their responsibilities for the public lands over which they have authority. Though they all have preservation of cultural heritage as part of their missions, or are mandated by law, the various approaches that federal agencies take are affected by the structure and functions of their mission-oriented organizations. So when NAGPRA was enacted in 1990, each federal agency had an organization in place, with policies and operations, which could be tasked with the new requirements. While they all recognized the significance of NAGPRA, they also brought different perspectives on the best ways to accomplish the statutory purposes. In this chapter, we examine NAGPRA implementation from the origins and development of those programs in federal agencies. Specifically, the programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service are addressed. They each have distinct missions. They each have important differences in their organizations. They each brought distinct approaches to the initial phases of implementation. Together, their accomplishments can be viewed as essential contributions to the national efforts to achieve the purposes of NAGPRA. We begin with a federal agency that welcomed the enactment of NAGPRA as a critical component of its strategic goals and centralized administration for one part of its cultural heritage program on behalf of its far-flung organizations. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had provided significant support for this centralized approach, so the ability to describe the new requirements was aided greatly by the skilled technicians and program management already functioning effectively within the agency. Almost immediately, the corps program became a model that other federal agencies sought to learn about. Their sturdy record in auditing collections and analyzing curation programs helped set standards that other federal agencies were able to use. 136 CHAPTER 6 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ NAGPRA program Introduction. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (corps) administers a centralized NAGPRA compliance program that is unique within the Department of Defense. Established in 1992, the program is managed by the St. Louis District’s Mandatory Center of Expertise with direction provided by corps headquarters. This chapter outlines the history of the program, discusses the compliance strategy employed, then highlights the successful repatriation of Native American human remains and funerary objects dating between 800 and 10,000 years before present (ybp). History of the corps’s NAGPRA program. In 1802, Congress formally created the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the Continental United States, the corps is currently comprised of 38 district offices organized within eight regions. In total, the corps administers or manages nearly 11 million acres of public land. Prior to construction or groundbreaking projects conducted on corps lands, archaeological investigations are often necessary. These investigations have been conducted by professional archaeologists, university research programs, and archaeological contractors , and the resulting surveys and excavations have resulted in archaeological collections that total more the 47,000 cubic feet. The collections often remained with the investigators doing the work or were transferred to local museums and historical societies. Thus, corps collections are now stored in a diverse array of universities, museums, offices, and storage facilities. When NAGPRA was enacted in 1990, the corps recognized the critical importance of the legislation, but also knew compliance would be complicated by the dispersed nature of the archaeological collections. To address the complex compliance issues, corps leadership took the bold steps of requesting line-item funding specifically for NAPGRA compliance and centralizing the management of compliance . The line item funding provides a consistent stream of funding dedicated to NAGPRA compliance. Additionally, to manage the effective use of the resources, to track compliance across the corps, and to provide technical experts to assist districts, a centralized program was established. To initiate this program, corps headquarters looked to the St. Louis District, which a few years previously had united a group of technical specialists to address archaeological collections management needs. It soon became obvious that success would follow the union of the St. Louis technical focus and the agency’s NAGPRA compliance. The technical center in St. Louis was elevated to a national extension of the corps headquarters and designated a Mandatory Center of Expertise...


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