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In November 2013 the American Anthropological Association empaneled a Task Force on Cultural Heritage to help develop an organizational strategy for addressing issues relating to cultural heritage worldwide. In January 2016 the Task Force submitted its report, which was received by the AAA Executive Board. Subsequently, a board subcommittee was constituted to develop a set of principles to be used by the EB to assess the merits of proposed partnerships, initiative or requests for advocacy on cultural heritage matters. The result is the AAA Executive Board Cultural Heritage and Values document.
The Task Force report remains under discussion by the EB. The report advocates organizational and governance changes to AAA, which cannot be implemented without additional discussion, bylaws changes and/or availability of financial and human resources. The AAA EB will continue to work through these recommendations with the relevant sections, committees, and constituencies. Overall the report focuses strongly on the Americas and indigeneity, and explicitly calls for AAA to sign on to a declaration involving heritage in the Americas and Caribbean. AAA has worked on revisions with the Declaration’s authors. Subsequently, the Executive Board approved signing onto the “Declaration On The Need To Protect And Safeguard Cultural Heritage In The Americas And The Caribbean.” Given the complex sets of pressing and immediate concerns involving heritage in other parts of the world where heritage engages many other kinds of identities, interests and agendas, the EB believes additional discussion and coordination with sister organizations will be needed to develop a robust and coherent organizational strategy for addressing heritage globally and across all contexts of practice.
AAA staff developed an Executive Board summary (PDF) of the larger Task Force report linking its recommendations to the seven explicit TFCH charges. Additional cultural heritage resources selected and submitted by the Task Force are included here (PDF) for viewing and download.
These are issues of profound importance to anthropology, anthropologists and the Association. Cultural heritage also has significance across and beyond all the traditional subfields of anthropology and to the communities that anthropologists collaborate with and study. AAA is committed to developing strategies, partnerships, and initiatives to better address cultural heritage issues and confronting challenges to heritage and identity worldwide.