• Funding Increase for Historic Preservation Fund

    December 28, 2022

    A key advocacy ask of the National Trust and other partner organizations each year is robust funding for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). In the FY23 omnibus appropriations package passed on December 23, the HPF received a significant funding increase, reaching $204.5 million for the first time in the history of the program—a remarkable 18 percent increase over last year’s enacted funding level.

    This funding includes much-needed increases for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO/THPO). SHPOs will receive $62.15 million, which alleviates any funding decreases for certain states as a result of the recently updated apportionment formula and ensures that SHPO offices will not receive less funding in FY 2023. THPOs saw a much-needed increase in funding as well, receiving a 44 percent increase over last year’s enacted levels, for a total of $23 million.

    Several important HPF grant programs which help tell a more diverse American story also saw welcomed funding increases. The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program received a 25 percent increase, the African American Civil Rights Grant saw a 15 percent increase and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant also received a 10 percent increase.

    In early December, the National Trust led a letter with several preservation partners to Senate and House appropriators urging support of $191 million for the Historic Preservation Fund. We greatly appreciate our champions on the Hill for advocating for much needed HPF funding, especially retiring Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who has long been one of historic preservation’s strongest supporters in Washington.

  • Major Wins for Honoring Japanese American Heritage

    December 28, 2022

    Within the omnibus bill passed by Congress on December 23, 2022, were major wins for Japanese American heritage. The provisions increase the authorization of appropriations from $38 million to $80 million for the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program, which supports the preservation of internment camps that were used to detain Japanese Americans during World War II. It also creates the Japanese American Confinement Education grant program within JACS to provide grants to Japanese American nonprofits to educate individuals about the historical significance of these events.

    The package also establishes the Japanese American World War II History Network within the National Park Service that will interconnect sites across the country related to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans and to increase recognition of this human rights tragedy which occurred on U.S. soil during World War II.

  • Tribal Priorities Achieve Victories

    December 28, 2022

    As one of the final bill signings of 2022, President Biden signed into law the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act (S. 1471 / H.R. 2930) on December 21. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation, strongly supported by the National Trust, would strengthen laws aimed at preventing trafficking in Native American cultural items and facilitate the voluntary return of sacred and cultural objects.

    The Honorable Brian D. Vallo, Governor of Pueblo of Acoma—a National Trust co-stewardship site in New Mexico—testified as a witness in support of the bill at a May 2021 hearing before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. The Senate passed the bill unanimously at the end of November, following House passage last year.

    At the White House Tribal Nations Summit in early December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposed to rescind Appendix C and instead follow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s regulations and guidance for implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Appendix C procedures have proved problematic for decades by narrowly defining undertakings, minimizing the Area of Potential Effects, and limiting consultation with Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and other consulting parties. The Appendix C procedures have also been applied inconsistently, undermining the USACE’s ability to reliably steward America’s heritage. While the proposal is encouraging, the announcement is the first step of many and will likely take up to a year before Appendix C is rescinded.

  • Preservation Priorities Task Force Issue Briefs Released

    September 29, 2021

    The National Trust and the National Preservation Partners Network (NPPN) recently released Issue Briefs on four key topics facing the preservation movement:

    Designed to highlight key challenges related to each topic and identify opportunities for solutions and new approaches, the Issue Briefs, and other resources are available on the new Preservation Priorities Task Force website https://www.preservationpriorities.org.

    The Issue Briefs were developed through the Preservation Priorities Task Force—a partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Preservation Partners Network. Formed in 2020, this two-year project is designed to support statewide and local organizations by providing new resources and grants to tackle these issues. The task force includes four working groups, one for each issue, plus a steering committee and a communications subcommittee. To date, more than 50 preservation practitioners have joined working groups, representing 23 states and dozens of organizations. A full list of task force members is available at https://www.preservationpriorities.org/.

    Not intended as comprehensive studies, the four Issue Briefs are designed to build mutual understanding, spark conversation, and inspire action. Preservation organizations and advocates are encouraged to use the Issue Briefs in any number of ways—as guides for discussions with community leaders and stakeholders, background for outreach to potential partners, support materials for fundraising efforts, and more.

    The Preservation Priorities Task Force is supported by the Moe Family Fund for Statewide and Local Partners, which is providing grants for innovative demonstration projects related to the four priorities. The first round of grant recipients will be announced later this fall. The Preservation Fund for Eastern Massachusetts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is supporting production of these Issue Briefs.

  • Nomination of Charles F. Sams III as National Park Service Director

    August 25, 2021

    President Biden nominated Charles “Chuck” Sams III to be the next director of the National Park Service on August 18. If confirmed by the Senate, Sams would be the first Native American to lead the agency and the 19th permanent director in the Park Service’s 105-year history, the first permanent director of the Park Service since 2017.

    Nominated by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Sams is a former longtime administrator of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. Sams also previously worked in state and tribal government jobs and the nonprofit natural resource and conservation management field for more than 25 years.

    Sams is the second Native American to hold a major post in Biden administration after Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to become Secretary of the Interior.

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