Rubén Gallego, Raúl Grijalva, and Deb Haaland Demand Interior Consult with Tribes on Proposed Changes to Historic Property Preservation Process
The National Historic Preservation Act was designed to ensure that State and Tribal Historic Preservation offices play a key role in determining eligibility and nominating historic properties for the National Register, and to provide a mechanism for appeal. However, the Trump administration is proposing changes that would make federal agencies the sole entities empowered to nominate properties on public lands for preservation and would eliminate the appeals process for individual citizens -- a change that would adversely affect Indian Country. Representatives Rubén Gallego (D-AZ), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), and Deb Haaland (D-NM) sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and the Acting Director of the National Park Service criticizing the Department’s proposed rule. The letter calls for the Department to hold meaningful government-to-government consultation with tribes on the proposed policy, which have not yet occurred despite the proposed rule’s clear negative impact on tribes’ ability to protect sacred spaces on public land. “This proposed rule is yet another example of this administration’s attempts to silence public input on their policies and ignore the right of sovereign tribes to be consulted on policies impacting them,” Gallego said. From shrinking national monuments that protect sacred land to putting Chaco Canyon at risk from oil and gas drilling, this administration has shown a profound lack of respect for sacred tribal resources, especially when they conflict with industry priorities. “It’s well past time for the Department of the Interior to take its responsibilities to sovereign tribal nations seriously ... Tribes haven’t been consulted on important decisions from the beginning of this administration, and decisions are made under a veil of secrecy,” said Grijalva, the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. Haaland added that they are “holding them accountable and demanding they consult with tribal governments so they have the opportunity to provide input on issues directly impacting their lands.” Read the letter here.