News from the CNEHA Board
House Votes in Strong Support of Historic Preservation
On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to increase funding for preservation programs and defeated an effort to reduce funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Thanks to all of you who have advocated on behalf of historic preservation; your voices make a difference!
Several key amendments to the fiscal year 2019 Interior appropriations bill passed. Rep. Joe Courtney [D-CT] successfully offered an amendment to increase the investment in the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) by $5 million to equal the amount allocated in last year’s budget.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also succeeded in securing additional funds for sites associated with the African-American experience.
• Rep. Terri Sewell’s [D-AL] amendment directs $2.5 million away from the Secretary of the Interior’s departmental operations and instead increases funding for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of the Civil Rights Movement.
• Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s [D-TX] amendment adds an additional $500,000 to the HPF for competitive grants for the survey and nomination of properties to the National Register and as National Historic Landmarks associated with under-represented communities.
• A second amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee directs that an additional $1 million of HPF funds should be allocated to grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
• Rep. James Clyburn’s [D-SC] amendment increases funding for HPF grants to HBCUs by $2 million.
Rep. Glenn Grothman [R-WI] led an effort to decrease funding for NEH by 15%, almost $23 million. However, the House of Representatives voted decisively, 114-297, against cutting NEH monies. We are pleased to again see the strong support in Congress for the NEH, despite President Trump’s pledges to eliminate funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.
Next week, the U.S. Senate will vote on its version of the appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. It is likely that we’ll need to make more calls to our Senators to ensure that they too support strong funding for preservation programs. Stay tuned!
Once both chambers have voted, conferees from the House and Senate will work together to create a compromise bill. If the compromise bill passes that House and Senate, it will then go the President for his signature.
Proposed Amendment to Cut Funding for NEH and NEA was Defeated
Thanks to your swift action, the House voted yesterday afternoon to reject the Grothman amendment to the Interior appropriations bill! This amendment would have cut the budget of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by 15% or nearly $23 million. The Interior Appropriations bill will go forward with $155 million in funding for both the NEH and NEA, reflecting $2 million increases on last year’s funding level!
The House rejected Grothman’s amendment by a vote of 297-114. The 297 representatives who voted against the amendment were a truly bipartisan group of 185 Democrats and 111 Republicans. This was the first time since 2011 that Representatives have taken a vote specifically on the NEH and NEA, and we were especially gratified to see support from many of the Republicans with whom humanities advocates have met over the past several years.
Check how your Representative voted here, and tweet at or a send a message of thank you to those Representatives who opposed the amendment!
We expect the House to vote on and pass the Interior Appropriations bill,
with funding of $155 million, later today. Once the Senate passes its
version of the bill—which passed out of committee with $155 million for
the NEH—the House and Senate will work to reconcile any discordant spending
levels. We will keep you updated if your action is needed again.
Thank you for advocating!
National Humanities Alliance
CNEHA signed on to the attached letter supporting the Chaco Cultural Heritage Protection Act
The National Trust would like to invite your organization to sign on to a letter
to New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich supporting their
Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act (S. 2907). The letter is pasted
below and attached.
S. 2907 would provide a permanent mineral withdrawal for approximately 316,000 acres of federal lands surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park to prevent new energy development immediately surrounding Chaco Canyon. Nonfederal minerals owned by the state, tribal entities, or private owners would not be impacted, nor would existing leases. I’ve attached a fact sheet on the bill to this email. The senators’ press release with links to the bill and map is available here.
If your organization would like to sign on, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with:
• name of the organization
• name and email of a contact person for the organization (for follow up only; the letter will only list organizations as signatories)
Update from the CNEHA Subcommittee for Collaborative Preservation
CNEHA members may be interested in the Society for American Archaeology's new Archaeologist-Collector Collaboration Interest Group (ACCIG), currently chaired by Bonnie Pitblado of the University of Oklahoma. The new group was created to promote positive relationships among stakeholders who share a passion for the past, including but not limited to professional archaeologists and responsible artifact collectors. It aims to generate short- and long-term initiatives and productive discussion surrounding collaborative archaeology and preservation. Early conversations have included training metal detectorists in archaeological methods and the acceptance of collections made by non-professionals into archaeological repositories or museums. SAA members may affiliate with the ACCIG for free when renewing their SAA membership. More information can be found on the SAA's Interest Group website: www.saa.org/ForMembers/InterestGroups/tabid/129/ or by contacting Dr. Pitblado: cas.ou.edu/bonnie-pitblado. CNEHA's Subcommittee for Collaborative Preservation will continue to report on ACCIG's activities to our members.
Coalition for American Heritage Letter Opposing changes to protections for the Bear’s Ear National Monument
As a member of the Coalition for American Heritage, CNEHA recently signed on to a letter urging the House National Resources Committee to oppose changes to protections for the Bear’s Ear National Monument under the proposed bill, H.R. 4532. Thirty-one organizations and Tribal Nations signed the letter. A copy is attached. Here is a link for CNEHA members who might be interested in joining the Coalition as individuals:
heritagecoalition.org/for-individuals. ACRA, AAA, and the SAA are currently leading this coalition. CNEHA became a member in 2017.
We also joined the National Humanities Alliance to urge the protection of NEH, a key source of funding for projects like the current archaeological project at Plymouth, Massachusetts, headed by Dr. David Landon of the University of Massachusetts Boston
( Project 400, www.fiskecenter.umb.edu/Projects/Project_400.html).
Finally, we have continued to follow and work with America’s Voice: Conservation Recreation Preservation (AVCRP) on campaigns that promote the protection of cultural heritage resources as well as environmental and recreational resources. AVCRP has initiated twitter campaigns to encourage broader participation by citizens.
The need for increased advocacy for the preservation and protection of irreplaceable cultural resources as well as the funding critical to that mission (e.g., NEH, and the Historic Tax Credit that supports historic preservation initiatives) has been palpable this past year, and CNEHA is responding as an organization to these concerns. Please share the names of projects you know of that were funded in part or in whole through NEH grants. I urge you to become advocates as well!
Chair, Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology