In March 2023, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) members approved a critical update to its 2007 policy statement on burial sites, human remains, and funerary objects.
The new policy was adopted in response to unfortunate and traumatic incidents of disturbances of these sites, remains, and objects, some of which occurred as federal agencies conducted undertakings during Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act reviews. The policy formally recognizes that the places and people most often disturbed are those associated with racial and ethnic minorities, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives, and low-income communities. It also acknowledges the impact of climate change on sites, cemeteries, and associated cultural practices, which might in turn threaten their identification and protection.
Expert Member Luke Nichter, host of the ACHP podcast, Preservation Perspectives, speaks with ACHP Chair Sara C. Bronin and Ira Matt, Director of the ACHP's Office of Native American Affairs, about the policy, its impact, and implementation.