TITLE: Request to Obama Administration for Full and Permanent Funding of the Historic Preservation Fund
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) established by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) funds a broad range of activities carried out by State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs), including maintaining qualified staff to meet Section 106, Tax Act, preservation planning, and other key duties as part of the national historic preservation program; and
WHEREAS, although the HPF is authorized at $150 million annually, funding has never reached this level and considerably lower annual appropriations continue to have extremely negative impacts on the ability THPOs to maintain effective organizations and carry out their responsibilities under NHPA; and
WHEREAS, the underfunding of HPF has had a particularly acute impact on Indian tribes, who have less than $9 million annually to be divided among 157 THPOs; and
WHEREAS, the ACHP, federal agencies, and stakeholders have a critical interest in ensuring that THPOs are funded at levels sufficient to ensure their effective participation in Section 106 consultation and other national priorities; and
WHEREAS, THPOs also need predictable funding to continue to identify properties worthy of preservation and manage such information with modern digital technology.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI strongly encourages the Administration to seek full and permanent funding of the HPF at its authorized level in the President's budget for FY 2016 and beyond; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.