Overview of ACHP Policy Statements

With passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, Congress made the Federal Government a full partner and a leader in historic preservation. While Congress recognzied that national goals for historic preservation could best be achieved by supporting the drive, enthusiasm, and wishes of local citizens and communities, it understood that the Federal Government must set an example through enlightened policies and practices.

The ACHP acts as a federal policy advisor to the President, Congress, and other agencies and organizations in matters of national preservation.
  1. In 1992, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was amended to establish tribal historic preservation programs and grants to these tribes1. Section 101(d)(2) of the act provides for federally recognized Indian tribes to apply to the Department of the Interior (DOI) to assume any or all of the functions of a State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) on their tribal lands2.
  2. The ACHP seeks to promote an approach to resource management and conflict resolution on Federally owned public lands that achieves balance between natural and cultural values. ACHP affirms the importance of responsible Federal stewardship of historic properties located within natural areas.
  3. The Federal Government has a unique relationship with Indian tribes derived from the Constitution, treaties, Supreme Court doctrine, and Federal statutes. It is deeply rooted in American history, dating back to the earliest contact in which colonial governments addressed Indian tribes as sovereign nations.
  4. Council members of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation adopted an Affordable Housing Policy after two years of task force meetings and information gathering. The final policy came following extensive negotiation among task force members including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will take the lead in implementing the plan.
  5. The ACHP voted unanimously to adopt its new “Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Burial Sites, Human Remains, and Funerary Objects” in 2007. The policy offers leadership in resolving how to treat burial sites, human remains, and funerary objects in a respectful and sensitive manner.
  6. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) aims, among other things, “to insure future generations a genuine opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the rich heritage of our nation.”
  7. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) adopted a ‘‘Policy Statement on Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation,’’ on November 9, 2006. These regulations set forth the process through which Federal agencies comply with these duties, and are codified under 36 CFR part 800.
  8. The ACHP’s trust responsibility is to ensure that its regulations implement the requirements of Section 106. Federal agencies are required to consult with Indian tribes that attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties that may be affected by their undertakings.
  9. The purpose of developing this policy statement is to ensure that preservation is considered as a tool that will assist federal, state, and local governments plan and implement revitalization projects and programs in a manner that will consider the reuse and rehabilitation of historic properties.
  10. The history of the United States is enhanced by the many cultures and peoples that make up this nation. These cultures and peoples bring together diverse languages, ceremonies, practices, rites, and stories that add to our nation’s vibrancy and strength, engender our compassion, and define our collective history.