Aztec Ruins
Administrative History
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Basic guidance for management of the monument lies in its enabling legislation, included as appendix A, and from the general regulations which guide NPS operations and management contained in 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Guidance for cultural resources management is provided by a whole hierarchy of laws, regulations, proclamations, orders, regulations, policies, standards, and guidelines. Relevant laws and regulations are itemized in NPS-28, Cultural Resources Management Guidelines (August 1985). NPS-28 draws upon and summarizes the various requirements to provide a servicewide guide for cultural resources management. The NPS Management Policies also provide a basic summary of cultural resources management mandates. For purposes of this GMP, the following items are deemed the most important.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Public Law (PL) 91-190, 83 stat. 852; 42 USC 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR, parts 1500-1508) which directs the federal government to preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage.

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended (PL 89-665; 80 stat. 915; 16 USC 470; amended by various public laws, including 96-515) declared a national policy of historic preservation. Among other provisos, section 106 of this act requires that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation be afforded an opportunity to comment on any undertaking that affects properties listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Section 110 of this act provides that "prior to acquiring, constructing, or leasing buildings for purposes of carrying Out agency responsibilities, each Federal agency shall use to the maximum extent feasible, historic properties available to the agency." Other guidance is provided by 53 FR 4727-46, "Federal Agency Responsibilities under Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act." Amendments to this act in 1980 stressed the responsibility to preserve and conserve the intangible elements of our cultural heritage such as arts, skills, folklife, and folkways. Executive Order 11593, incorporated into NHPA by amendment, decrees that the federal government will provide leadership in preserving, restoring, and maintaining the historic and cultural environment of the nation. It also mandates that agencies are to inventory cultural resources on lands under their control or affected by their programs, nominate eligible resources to the National Register, and exercise due caution with respect to cultural resources--giving them appropriate and adequate consideration during planning.

Protection of Historic and Cultural Properties (36 CFR 800) gives the step-by-step procedures to be followed by federal agencies to ensure that undertakings under their control are in compliance with the 1966 Historic Preservation Act and Executive Order 11593.

Management and protection of archeological resources are more specifically outlined in the following acts and directives:

The Antiquities Act of 1906 (PL 59-209, 34 stat. 225; 16 USC 431 et seq.)

The Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (PL 96-95, 93 stat. 721, 16 USC 470 aa-ii) and the implementing regulations (43 CFR 7) provide for sanctions against persons convicted of removal, defacement, and/or sale of cultural resources from federal lands. Recently enacted revisions to this act (PL 100-555, 102 2778; and PL 100-588, 102 stat. 2983) require that federal land managers establish programs to increase public awareness of the significance of archeological resources located on public lands. These revisions also lower the threshold under which penalties may be assessed and require agencies to have a schedule and plan for survey of cultural resources.

Special Directive 87-3, Conservation of Archeological Resources deals with the basic dichotomy between the NPS mandate to preserve archeological sites unimpaired for future generations, and the necessity to excavate sites to acquire mission-oriented information or materials; i.e., those needed for scientific information, interpretation, or excavations that are done to rescue data that are threatened by visitor activities, natural causes, or development approved as part of the general management planning process. This directive also stresses NPS responsibility for proper and timely curation, including provisions for adequate funding as part of projects.

The primary laws, rules, and regulations that deal with native American relationships are as follows:

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, PL 95-341 (92 stat. 469, 16 USC 1996) which protects and preserves the right of American Indians to pursue traditional religious activities. As a corollary to this act, the Native American Relationships Management Policy (52 FR 35674) outlines procedures for dealing with a variety of Native American issues, and requires park managers to engage in the identification of and consultation with native American groups traditionally associated with park lands and other resources.

Staff Directive 88-1 (October 13, 1988) Public Access to NPS Cultural Resources Management Bibliography Reports and Confidentiality of Archeological and Ethnographic Resources Information provides direction for review and certification of NPS bibliographic materials and outlines the provisions for protection of confidential cultural resources information, noting that federal land managers shall not make available to the public information concerning the characteristics and location of any archeological or ethnographical resources where the release of such information might risk harm to the resources or sites.

Other guidance is provided by

Special Directive 87-3, Conservation of Archeological Resources

Special Directive 85-4, Procedures for the Museum Collections Repository Western Archeological and Conservation Center, Tucson

Special Directive 80-1, Guidance for Meeting NPS Presentation and Protection Standards for Museum Collection

Archeology and Historic Preservation: Secretary of Interior's Standards and Guidelines. 1983 (48 FR 44716)

Management of Museums Acts of 1955. (PL 84-127; 69 stat. 242; 16 USC 18f).

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006