Friends of America's Past



Issues and Where to Express Your Concerns About Them

As a nonprofit organization we cannot directly lobby for specific legislation. However, we can provide you with information about proposed legislation. It is now increasingly important for you to voice your opinions. Please take a few minutes to email your comments Capitol Hill email addresses

Some issues to address with Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill:

Representative Doc Hastings (R, WA) a member of the House Resources Committee has introduced legislation that clarifies the definition of Native American and clearly states that scentific study of ancient remains is protected. The scientific significance of ancient remains such as those of the Kennewick Man, the Spirit Cave Man, and others are of interest not only to the people of the United States, but to people worldwide.

In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Federal District Court opinon that the National Park Service's definition of Native American is arbitrary. However Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee proposed an amendment (S.536) to overturn these decisions. In a technical correction to NAGPRA, the definition of a Native American would include anyone, regardless of biological heritage, who is "or was" indigenous to the United States.

Only American Indians from federally recognized tribes may make claims under NAGPRA. Prehistory is richer, more complex and varied than this simplistic notion of the past. For example, people of Hispanic descent, whose ancestors and cultures reach as far back into prehistory as those of American Indians, have no protection under NAGPRA. Access to and the interpretation of their heritages would be placed in control of Americn Indian tribes if Senator McCain's amendment to NAGPRA becomes law.

As NAGPRA requires, clear cultural affiliation must be clearly established before any remains or cultural items are given to an American Indian tribe.

Please help us to preserve the evidence of the past. Take a few minutes to express your concerns to Capitol Hill (email addresses)

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