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United States Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

H24(2275) Feb 25 2003

To: Federal Agency and Bureau Directors, Historic Preservation Officers, and Other Interested Parties
From: Director Mainella
Subject: Promoting the "National Strategy for Federal Archeology"

For over a century and a half, public archeology has been a prominent aspect of cultural and professional life in the United States. Beginning with the archeological studies and publications of the Smithsonian Institution, during the last 100 years other public agencies, in particular the Department of the Interior, have come to play important roles in American archeology. In March 1990, under President George H. Bush, Secreatry of the interior Manuel Lujan, Jr., continued this tradition when he issued the initial National Strategy for Federal Archeology. The strategy was updated and affirmed in 1999. We urge you to endorse and highlight this useful national policy.

The National Strategy is used by officials within the Department of the Interior to emphasize the conservation, wise stewardship, and commemorative, educational, and scientific uses of archeological sites, collections, and records. We encourage use of the national strategy by other Federal, State, tribal, and local resource managers, archeologists, and historic preservationists throughout the nation. Many of these officials, including Secreataries of other Federal departments, have developed and supported the activities and archeological programs endorsed by the national strategy.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act authorize the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service to provide leadership, guidance, and of the Secreatry's leadership and guidance in this arena. The National Strategy highlights four general areas: (1) the conservation, preservation, protection, and study of archeological sites, (2) the curation and research use of archeological collections and records, (3) the utilization and sharing of archeological reports, data and research, and (4) the incorporation of public outreach activities in archeological projects. The strategy aims to ensure that these basic areas of concern are included in every public archeological endeavor and are used as measures of effective performance by public programs.

The stewardship of America's archeological heritage is important for all Americasn; loss of this heritage diminishes our culural and historical foundations, as well as those for future generations. There is no quick fix to the challenges that the National Strategy identifies. The necessary activities are part of ongoing, regular efforts. Public agencies, private sector businesses, the archeological profession, private associations and citizens all have important roles to play in these endeavors.