Congressional Action Network Alert: Cultural Heritage - Participate and Advocate
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Congressional Action Network Alert: Cultural Heritage

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November 16, 2017


Reject H.R.3990: Republican Attack on the Antiquities Act

President Trump is working with House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) to overhaul the Antiquities Act of 1906. A Republican bill, H.R. 3990, would make it difficult for future Presidents to create large national monuments to protect Native American heritage, archeological sites, terrestrial ecosystems, or marine life.


Currently, presidents have authority to establish monuments from public lands to protect areas of cultural, scientific or historic interest. There are no limitations on acreage or requirements for public involvement.  H.R. 3990 would give President Trump the authority to shrink any monument by 85,000 acres without consulting Congress.  The legislation advanced out of the Natural Resources Committee on a party-line vote in October, and will likely go to House floor for a vote in the New Year.  With H.R. 3990 Chairman Bishop is also making new hurdles to clear before future national monuments can be established.  Bishop’s bill has a misleading name: “The National Monument Creation and Protection Act.”  The legislation would impose restrictions on the size of future national monuments—requiring approval from county commissions, state legislatures, and governors for monument designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres.  “Requiring so many diverse state and local lawmakers to agree on the monument designation is nothing more than a clever ruse,” according to the Coalition for American Heritage.  “Under the guise of local control, this bill would impose such onerous requirements for approvals that it would make it virtually impossible for the President to designate any large national monuments.”  The bill contains specific provisions against establishing marine national monuments to protect underwater archaeological sites, endangered species, and ecological communities.  AAA has joined the Coalition for American Heritage in opposing H.R. 3990 (click here for the full text).

House of Representatives Action

The Progressive Caucus, led by Rep. Raúl Grijalva, is opposing H.R.3990.  Earlier this year, 86 Members of Congress signed a dear colleague letter about National Monuments (click here).  Thank your Congressperson, if they signed this letter and ask them to oppose H.R. 3990. Only six Republican Congressmen have co-sponsored H.R. 3990 (click here), so many elected officials have not yet taken a stance.  Meet with your Representative and recommend that they vote against H.R. 3990.  


How to set up a Meeting


For helpful tips about conducting Congressional advocacy, please read the COSSA Handbook Social & Behavioral Science Research Advocacy.


There are two opportunities to learn more about Congressional advocacy at AAA:

Executive Session: Reimagining Political Horizons (3-0228)

Thursday, November 30th, 9am-11:30am

Offsite location: US House of Representatives, Cannon Office Building, Room 121
27 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, DC 20003

Organizer: Eben Kirksey. Chairs: Hugh Gusterson, Emily Martin. Presenters: Bianca Williams, Keenan Keller, Janine Wedel, Gloria Everson, Attiya Ahmad, Cecilia Van Hollen, Jerome Whitington, Vincent Crapanzano, Anne Spice. Discussant: Kathleen Stewart.

Congressional Advocacy 101 (4-0275)

Friday, December 1, 8am – 9:30am, Location: Marriott, Virginia Suite A

Organizers: Agustin Fuentes, Eben Kirksey. Participants:  Nisrin Elamin Abdelrahman, plus House of Representatives staff: Brandon Bragato, Maggie Tyler, and Jonathan Martinez.

This workshop on legislative advocacy will be led by anthropologists with advocacy experience in the US House of Representatives and Senate.  Congressional aides have been invited to give an insiders perspective on the legislative process.


This network emerged from a May 2017 meeting of 23 scholars at the AAA office in Washington DC:

Leith Mullings (The CUNY Graduate Center), Nisrin Abdelrahman (Stanford), Bianca Williams (The CUNY Graduate Center), Anne Spice (The CUNY Graduate Center), Gloria Everson, Harjant Gill (Towson University), Agustín Fuentes (Notre Dame), Susan Terrio (Georgetown), Attiya Ahmad (George Washington University), Kath Weston (University of Virginia), Inderpal Grewal (Yale University), Cecilia Van Hollen (Syracuse University), Alex W. Barker (University of Missouri), Matthew Chrisler (The CUNY Graduate Center), Hugh Gusterson (George Washington University), Eben Kirksey (UNSW Sydney), Alisse Waterston (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), Edward Liebow (AAA), David Machledt (National Help Law Program), Negar Razavi (University of Pennsylvania), Chloe Ahmann (George Washington University), Jeff Martin (AAA), Janine Wedel (George Mason University). 

If you would like to join this emergent network of scholars, please write to Eben Kirksey  ( or Harjant Gill (

To learn about other issues, visit the AAA webpage: Anthropologists: Time to Take Action!

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