Message #99:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: SAA Government Affairs Update
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 01:45:15 EST

From:	Sherry Lerner
Judith A. Bense, Chair, Government Affairs Committee
Donald Forsyth Craib, Manager, Government Affairs, and Counsel

During the past few weeks, there has been a lot of activity already on
Capitol Hill in the 105th Congress that concerns archaeology.  In order
to bring you up to date on the SAA's most recent activity and the issues
on Capitol Hill that are important to archaeology, we have put together a
detailed summary for your information and distribution.  The hottest
issue lately is the proposed NAGPRA amendment in the Senate (S.110),
which the leadership of the SAA has analyzed and written a letter of
response.  We have included the letter in this Update, and the seven page
text of the
proposed amendment and the SAA analysis is attached to this message as a
separate file, the address of which is at the end of this message.  This
information has been put together from Donald Craib, the SAA leadership,
and the Committee on Repatriation.  Please feel free to distribute this
information throughout your state networks, societies, councils, and
professional networks.  Just remember to communicate that this
information comes from the SAA Government Affairs Program.

Issues in this Update:
-       105th Congress Overview
-       SAA's Legislative Agenda in 1997
-       Congressman English (R-PA) participation in the annual meeting
-       Government Affairs Forum at the annual meeting
-       SAA's Response and Analysis of Inoye's NAGPRA amendment (S.110)

THE 105th CONGRESS.  With the swearing in of the 105th Congress, the
promises to be a much more civil place than it was two years ago.  The
tentative legislative agenda for this session of the 105th Congress is
slim and dispersed, held precariously together by remnants of failed
proposals from the 104th Congress.  The Speaker's ethical problems and
continued divided government have curbed GOP aspirations and will test
promises of bipartisanship.

There will be a renewed effort to balance the budget, first by
constitutional amendment and later with deficit-reducing legislation.
Others items on Congress's plate early on in the session remain murky at
this time.  All of the talk about bipartisan cooperation has yielded
little more than a tacit understanding that Republicans will give
President Clinton the opportunity, and the political burden, of setting
the year's legislative 

SAA's LEGISLATIVE AGENDA IN 1997.  Several issues will dominate the
attention of SAA's government affairs office during the first session of
the 105th Congress:

1) proposed amendments to the Native American Graves Protection and
Repatriation Act;
2) FY'98 funding for federal archaeological programs and the Historic
Preservation Fund (HPF); 
3) reauthorization of the HPF; 
4) reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency
Act (ISTEA); 
5) amendments to the Antiquities Act; and 
6) oversight of the National Historic Preservation Act.

If you would like to learn more about any of these issues, please visit
the government affairs page on SAAWeb.

English (R-Pa) to participate at SAA Annual Meeting! Congressman Phil
English will attend SAA's 1997 Annual Meeting in Nashville and
participate in the government affairs committee sponsored forum,
Washington Politics and Archaeology, Friday morning, April 4.

opportunity for the membership to learn what happened in the 104th
Congress and 
what's on the horizon for the 105th as it affects archaeology and
historic preservation.  A panel consisting of SAA president Bill Lipe,
president-elect Vin Steponaitis,  executive board member Donna Seifert,
government affairs committee chair Judy Bense, government affairs manager
Donald Craib, Preservation Action president Nellie Longsworth, as well as
Congressman Phil English will provide brief summaries of current
information, forecasts, and strategies for the 105th Congress.  We
everyone to attend and participate in this unique event and also take the
opportunity to meet Congressman English during his three day stay at the
annual meeting.

February 14, 1997
The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Chairman Campbell:
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) wishes to take this
opportunity to comment on a bill that was recently introduced by Senator
Inouye and that falls within the jurisdiction of your committee.  This
bill is S. 110--proposed amendments to the Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  With over 6000 lay and
professional members, SAA is the largest organization devoted to the
study of the archaeology of the Americas.  SAA supports Native American
and Native Hawaiian rights with respect to affiliated ancestral human
remains and cultural items, and  worked
closely with Native American groups and members of Congress to obtain
passage of  the current version of NAGPRA.

SAA agrees that clarification of certain components of NAGPRA is
desirable. SAA believes, however, that S. 110 as currently written is
much more than a clarification, and that the four individual changes
proposed by S. 110 need to be considered separately.  We have detailed
our arguments in an attachment to this letter; a brief summary appears

The first change‹S.110 Section 1(a)‹requires written consent by lineal
descendants or appropriate tribes before the excavation of human remains
on federal land.  As currently worded, this amendment has the potential
to transform NAGPRA into a major tool that could be used by tribes,
Native Hawaiian organizations, or other groups to stop many kinds of
economic development or land management activities on Federal land.  In
to understand why this is so, one must recognize that virtually all
archaeological excavation of Native American graves on Federal land is
done in the context of construction or land management activities that
will destroy or damage the graves.  These archaeological excavations are
a direct consequence of the way in which the National Historic
Preservation Act is applied when archaeological sites are impacted by
Federal agency activities or by economic development projects done under
federal permit.  We believe that such a change would not be good public
policy and that the 
backlash resulting from project stoppage would harm the broader interests
of native
peoples and of historic preservation.  SAA recommends withdrawing this
proposed change.

The second change‹1(b)‹requires that when there are inadvertent
discoveries of human remains or cultural items on Federal land that
appropriate tribes are notified in a timely way.  It also makes clear
that, once made, inadvertent discoveries are to be treated in the same
manner as intentional excavations, with respect to ownership, removal,
and consultation with tribes.  SAA strongly supports the proposed changes
(with minor 
rewording) as appropriate clarifications of NAGPRAšs intent.

The third change‹1(c)‹extends the responsibilities of the NAGPRA Review
Committee by asking it to compile an inventory of funerary objects
associated with culturally  inidentifiable human remains and by asking it
to include these funerary objects in their recommendations concerning the
disposition of culturally unidentifiable remains.  SAA believes this is a
significant extension of the NAGPRA through a paragraph in the law 
whose interpretation is already contested.  SAA believes that the Review
already has before it a tremendous amount of important work and
recommends a
substitute amendment that would eliminate the amended paragraph [Section
8(c)(5)] from NAGPRA.

The fourth change‹also labeled 1(c), but presumably, 1(d)‹directs the
Secretary of the Interior to use NAGPRA penalties for further enforcement
of NAGPRA, permits payment of rewards for information relating to NAGPRA
enforcement, and allows payment of restitution to aggrieved parties
rather than the collection of penalties.  SAA strongly supports the
proposed changes in order to enhance the enforcement of NAGPRA, but
suggests a minor rewording of one paragraph.

Finally, SAA is concerned that Section 3 (Ownership) of NAGPRA does not,
in two respects, weigh the interests of the affected parties in what we
see as appropriate ways.  (1) SAA believes that when the scientific value
(ability to contribute information about the past) of a set of remains or
objects is great, the public interests in the past should outweigh the
concerns of a modern tribe that lacks clear cultural affiliation with the
remains in question.  (2) SAA supports the central principle that
underlies much of
NAGPRA: the closeness of cultural relationship should transcend
property rights in determining the disposition of human remains and
cultural items.  However, Section 3 is inconsistent with that principle
when it gives contemporary tribal land ownership priority over cultural
affiliation.  This results in NAGPRA assigning ownership over human
remains that are indisputably the recent ancestors of one tribe to a
different tribe, just because the latter tribe now controls the land on
which the remains were found.  SAA asks that when hearings are held, the
committee take 
testimony on these additional concerns as a part of its consideration of 
amendments to

SAA believes S. 110 has important implications that need to be further
understood before it is considered by the Senate.  We therefore recommend
the changes outlined here and suggest that the Senate Committee on Indian
Affairs convene a hearing to take testimony from Federal agencies, state
historic preservation officers,  private businesses operating on public
lands, archaeological organizations, and Native American and Native
Hawaiian groups.  SAA would be pleased to consult with you on draft
language that would avoid the problems it sees with the present version. 
SAA thanks you for your attention and looks forward to your response.

Sincerely,  William D. Lipe, Ph. D., President