Policy Update Jul 12, 2023

Position on H.R. 386, H.R. 1318 & H.R. 3448

NPCA submitted the following positions to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands ahead of a hearing scheduled for July 12, 2023.

H.R. 386 – Mount Rushmore Protection Act: NPCA opposes this legislation because it does not allow for meaningful engagement of indigenous communities regarding the future of the national park site. The Black Hills in which Mount Rushmore resides are sacred to the Lakota Sioux and over two dozen other tribes that consider this land to be ancestral and sacred. The Supreme Court (U.S. v. Sioux Nation of Indians) ruled the land was taken illegally from the Lakota tribes and required compensation. Any legislation impacting Mount Rushmore should allow for ongoing discussions with the Lakota Sioux Nations and Plains tribes. Additionally, the Department of the Interior is working through Secretarial Order 3403 to fulfill the United States Indian Federal Trust Responsibility in the stewardship of federal lands and waters, which is a worthy effort that NPCA supports, and this legislation could foreclose any future discussions regarding Mount Rushmore.

H.R. 1318 – Women’s Suffrage National Monument Location Act: NPCA conditionally supports this legislation to place the Women’s Suffrage National Monument on the National Mall that commemorates women’s fight for the vote and honor the pioneers of early American movement for women’s equality. Despite Congress’ 2003 amendment to the Commemorative Works Act determining that the National Mall is a “completed work of civic art” and establishing an area known as “the Reserve,” in which no new memorials would be placed in this location, we find the absence of any representation of women’s history most unfortunate and reversible. Should the location and design for the proposed commemorative work not fundamentally compromise the historic integrity of the National Mall, NPCA supports an exemption that would allow for the placement of this memorial.

H.R. 3448 – American Battlefields Protection Program Enhancement Act: NPCA supports this legislation which strengthens the ability to protect and rehabilitate battlefields across the country through the American Battlefield Protection Program managed by the National Park Service. The bill also expands the list of organizations and entities, including tribes, eligible to directly receive American Battlefield Protection Program grants, targets ABPP grants towards priority battlefield protection, enhancement, and restoration projects, and “creates a process for expanding and updating battlefield boundaries.”