Instructor: Kurt Dungoske, Kurt Anschuetz
What is mitigation? As part of CRM mitigation processes, direct, indirect, and cumulative effects on cultural resources that fulfill one or more of the National Register of Historic Places’ (NRHP’s) Criteria for Evaluation (36 CFR 60.4) must all be identified in order to address any competent approach to and for mitigation.
Two key questions must then also arise within any mitigation process:
(1) By whom is mitigation developed and implemented? and
(2) For whose interests, concerns, benefits, and well-being are addressed?
Historically in the United States, mitigation in CRM has focused on the status and character of a material property itself. Recognition of traditional cultural properties (TCPs) in Bulletin 38 and Properties of Traditional and Religious Cultural Importance (PTRCI) in 1992 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) have provided productive directives to identify and consider properties vital to different cultural groups’ living identities, histories, values, belief systems, and lifeways. These directives have concomitantly presented a challenge to consider what culturally sensitive and respectful mitigation may—or may not—be.
We present examples from our experiences working with the Acoma and Zuni people to illustrate how approaches to mitigation of adverse effects on cultural resources that are important to the histories and identities of members of these communities, including resources that lack tangible material traces typically known to be valued by archaeologists, can be sensitive and respectful, as well as lessen harms and losses that the people are asked to endure.
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