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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Final Two HAT Runners-Up

Below are the last two of six runners-up for the HAT Award. Later today or tomorrow I’ll announce THE WINNER.

I should stress that there no ranking is implied by the order in which these runners-up have been published.

Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism, British Columbia
The Signatories of this Document follow the 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity (Union of Concerned Scientists 1992) in asserting the following five principles:
·         We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth’s systems we depend on.
·         We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.
·         We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.
·         We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.
·         We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.
We also follow the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity in recognizing
A new ethic is required—a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth’s limited capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes.
As a consequence, the Signatories of this Document do not believe a one-size-fits-all heritage policy—however well-intended (Scott 1998, 2010)—can bring about this new ethic. Indeed, we believe the promotion by experts of a single-policy solution runs the risk of (1) misleading the public and other scholars into thinking potentially intractable contemporary socioenvironmental problems (Fassbinder 2016) are resolvable by modern governments and (2) reinforcing the idea that experts have either the knowledge or capabilities to enact meaningful change (Homer-Dixon 2007). A useful point of departure on this subject is this observation by Fikret Berkes and colleagues (2007:308):
Resource management is at a crossroads. Problems are complex, values are in dispute, facts are uncertain, and predictions are possible only in a limited sense. The scientific system that underlies resource management is facing a crisis of confidence in legitimacy and power. Top-down resource management does not work for a multitude of reasons, and the era of expert-knows-best decision making is all but over.
It is time for heritage experts to move beyond single-policy solutions (Ostrom et al. 2007).
Recognizing the scope and scale of the global heritage crisis (Fassbinder 2016; Union of Concerned Scientists 1992), and to avoid the trappings of naïve optimism in dealing with that crisis (Homer-Dixon 2007), we have sought a simple but realistic heritage stewardship model. We believe we have found two key strategies that define that model.

The first strategy is John Bodley’s Small Nation Solution, which confronts among many issues (e.g., elite directed growth) the core problem of population. According to Bodley (2013:vii),
The Small Nation Solution offers a very simple solution to the world’s biggest problems of poverty and environmental decline. The solution is simply that first each nation needs to be the optimum size, which means small, preferably fewer than ten million people.  Its citizens then need to reach a consensus on what they value most highly, and how these valued objects can be most justly distributed. In addition to scale and consensus, the small nation solution requires adherence to two fundamental principles that apply both within individual small nations and in a small nation world system: subsidiarity and heterogeneity. Subsidiarity means getting decision-making as close to the people as possible. Heterogeneity is about people in each small nation having maximum freedom to find the best solution(s) for their particular situation. 
Bodley’s concept of small nations is intentionally flexible, reflecting his belief in “societies being the best size to solve human problems, not in categorizing for the sake of categorizing.”
As a step towards implementing small nation solutions, the second strategy is Alan Parker’s Recommendations to Native Government Leadership. According to Parker (2012:189-91), “communities must adapt to changing conditions at a pace that will stress their social, economic, and cultural fabrics. But, we cannot afford to join our fellow Americans in massive denial. The time to plan and adapt is now.” Below is Parker’s 10-point plan (amended):
1.       Gather information on the impacts of global ecological breakdown in your region and make it available to your community.
2.      Secure sources of water.
3.      Secure sources of food.
4.      Prepare for impacts on plant and animal species.
5.      Develop relationships with neighboring governments and communities regarding disaster planning.
6.      Consider political alliances to build a renewable energy policy.
7.      Consider strategies to unite communities around the protection needed to defend treaty rights.
8.     Consider active involvement as sovereign governments in global climate change negotiations.
9.      Get youth involved in cultural education and defending their future.
10.  Work with other communities across imposed colonial boundaries on the basis of being natural regions.
Our model for heritage stewardship recognizes the links between the ideology of growth, development, and progress, and environmental thus cultural heritage destruction. To counter this, an emancipatory approach to heritage, as outlined here, begins with local control and questioning authority (Smith 2004). Designed to promote heritage resilience into the future, the result is not one but many solutions.

Richard M. Hutchings, Ph.D.
Marina La Salle, Ph.D.
Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism, British Columbia, Canada
Berkes, Fikret, Derek Armitage, and Nancy Doubleday
2007. Synthesis: Adapting, Innovating, Evolving. In Adaptive Co-Management, edited by D. Armitage, F. Berkes, and N. Doubleday, pp. 308-27. UBC Press, Vancouver.
Bodley, John H.
2013. The Small Nation Solution: How the World’s Smallest Nations Can Solve the World’s Biggest Problems. AltaMira, Lanham.
Fassbinder, Samuel Day
2016. The Literature of the Anthropocene: Four Reviews. Capitalism Nature Socialism DOI: 10.1080/10455752.2016.1245918.
Homer-Dixon, Thomas
2007. The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. Vintage Canada, Toronto.
Ostrom, Elinor, Marco A. Janssen, and John M. Anderies
2007. Going beyond Panaceas. PNAS 104(39):15176-8.
Parker, Alan
2012. Recommendations to Native Government Leadership. In Asserting Native Resilience, edited by Z. Grossman and A. Parker, pp. 189-92. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis.
Scott, James C.
1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, New Haven.
2010. The Trouble with the View from Above. CATO Institute September 8. Electronic document,
Smith, Laurajane
2004. Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage. Routledge, London.
Union of Concerned Scientists
1992. 1992 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity. Electronic document,


Angela B. McArdle

A Better Cultural Heritage Program for the United States


If the United States got a do over on its cultural heritage program, and it were up to me to create it anew, I would build it around the idea that we value our cultural heritage. Cultural heritage means different things to different people, so a better cultural heritage program would allow for more flexibility and would put the burden of determining how best to value cultural heritage on the communities laying claim to that value – not on the entities (i.e. project proponents) responsible for the undertaking.



I use the term value deliberately. By “value our cultural heritage,” I don’t mean save our cultural heritage, or preserve our cultural heritage. I don’t mean mine our cultural heritage for data.
Although, obviously, these actions could very well be the way in which a community decides to value its cultural heritage. But saving, preserving, and analyzing are not the only ways by which we can value our cultural heritage, nor are they necessarily the best ways. There is no one size fits all solution so there shouldn’t be a one size fits all pro forma cultural heritage program.

I like using the verb “value” here because all its traditional meanings are applicable to this new system (see definition below). The varied meanings of “to value,” namely “to appraise,” “to consider its usefulness,” and “to appreciate,” are integral to building a cultural heritage program that is inclusive, consultative, and balanced.

Value (verb)

1.  to calculate or reckon the monetary value of; give a specified material or financial value to; assess; appraise: to value their assets.

2.  to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance.

3.  to regard or esteem highly ( How the System Works
Every project that receives federal funding, or is undertaken by a federal entity, or takes place on federal land, must set aside a pre-determined percentage of their budget, established by legislation, for cultural heritage valuation.

What to do with that percentage is decided by the consulting parties. Once an undertaking is publicly announced, via some established network or (searchable) project database, there is a call for parties interested in the consultation process parties with some “skin in the game” so to speak. These consulting parties can sign on to a project by submitting a brief discussion of the cultural heritage that may be affected by the undertaking that they are interested in valuing.

These consulting parties can be locals or outsiders. They could be preservationists, archaeologists, businesses, families, tribes, organizations, cities, anything. If they can make a reasonable (obviously, “reasonable” is going to be subjective and would need to be further defined) claim on cultural heritage they wish to value that would be affected by the undertaking, then they are eligible for a seat at the consultation process.

A foreman is assigned to each project. The foreman is a state employee whose sole purpose is to guide the consultation process from beginning to end. For each project to which they are assigned, it is the foreman’s job to accept or reject consulting party applications, establish a consultation protocol (could be virtual, could be an in-person meeting, etc. whatever bests fits the situation), mediate the consultation dialogue, and decide the outcome (i.e. where the funds go and to what purpose) based on the recommendations of the consulting parties. Ideally, consensus among consulting parties is reached during the consultation process and the foreman accepts the recommendations, much in the same way a judge validates the decision(s) of a jury. However, if consensus is not reached, the foreman has the power to make a final decision based on all the information presented during the consultation process.

A possible kicker – if the law was to have teeth - funds can be returned and the project rejected if the foreman decides that the best course of action is not to go through with the project because the risk to cultural heritage is too great for a compromise to be reached. However, this should be unlikely, as there is a monetary incentive for consulting parties to come up with creative solutions that allow them to use the funds provided by the project to value their cultural heritage. Possible use of the funds could include (but are certainly not limited to) plans to:

Conduct an archaeological investigation
Preserve or conserve material objects or portions of the project area Mitigate damages to cultural resources
Establish a cultural heritage center/museum/education program Document cultural heritage (e.g. oral histories, 3D mapping, etc.)
Publish media (e.g. print and/or digital) celebrating cultural heritage of the area Establish a scholarship fund for individuals affiliated with affected cultural communities Strengthen infrastructure that supports lifeways of affected communities
Purchase parcels of land the project intended to use to protect them from adverse effects Host festivals/symposiums/conferences focused on cultural heritage
Fund a paid position that keeps tabs on the projects’ impacts on cultural heritage
Safeguard biological/ecological resources in the area that would preserve cultural lifestyles Construct edifices, memorials, art pieces, etc.
Host a fundraising gala/dinner intended to raise even more money to value cultural heritage

The possibilities for how best to value cultural heritage are bound only by the desires and creativity of the consulting parties, and the pre-determined budget set aside by the project proponents. In this way, each consultation can have a unique outcome, custom tailored to the consulting parties that have a stake in the cultural heritage affected by a given project. Additionally, and advantageously for the project proponents, there isn’t the chance of a project going overbudget because the amount is pre-determined by a set percentage established by legislation. Consulting parties will know this amount prior to making their recommendations, so they know what is feasible given the monetary constraints and can plan accordingly. The funds can go toward one large project supported by the consulting parties, or be divided equitably between the consulting parties there is no set rule on distribution.

Once a decision is made (either by consensus of the consulting parties, or by the foreman) the funds are distributed, the foreman documents the results of the consultation, and the project either proceeds unencumbered, proceeds with alterations, or is rejected. The documentation of the consultation process submitted by the foreman should be kept in a digital repository where the public can access it both for reasons of transparency and to foster ideas for future consultations on what works, what doesn’t, and how different groups negotiate valuing their cultural heritage.

The flow chart below depicts the chain of events at work in this system.

The Bureaucracy

To implement this program there are two levels of bureaucracy needed. The state appointed foremen and a federal agency that manages the repository of consultation results and provides support to the state foremen. How many state foremen are appointed depends on the size, needs, and budget of the state. State foremen should be dually qualified in alternative dispute resolution techniques (e.g. evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration) and cultural heritage preservation.


·         Set Costs: Project proponents automatically build in cultural heritage as a fixed part of their budget and do not have to worry about going through a check the box process (e.g. always hiring a CRM firm) that may or may not make sense for their project. A foreman is automatically assigned to their project who will guide the consultation process and facilitate communication between the project proponents and consulting parties. No one is caught off guard and project proponents know what to expect, as do consulting parties.

·         Flexibility: This system allows for a wide range of outcomes. Say there are old buildings on a lot that are projected for demolition so a new building can be constructed. Perhaps no one cares about the old buildings. If no one cares, there is no reason to preserve them, or value them, but say people are interested in preserving the lifestyles of those who lived or worked in those buildings. The buildings can be destroyed but funds can be used to establish an apprenticeship that promotes the work that was done in those buildings (e.g. dying textiles, car manufacturing, etc.). Perhaps no one wants to save the old buildings, but they do want to honor them in some way. Funds can go to making a movie about their history and documenting their features before destruction. Perhaps lots of people want to save the old buildings. Funds can go to relocating the buildings, preserving the buildings in situ and incorporating them into the new project, or the funds can be returned to the project proponents if consensus among the consulting parties is that there is no feasible way to value the cultural heritage if the project goes ahead.

·         Inclusivity: If no consulting parties are interested in the project, the funds set aside for valuing cultural heritage are returned to the project proponents and the undertaking can efficiently proceed. If there are parties interested in cultural heritage that may be affected by the project, they are all invited to the consultation table. There is no pro forma qualification that determines who may be interested. Anyone can apply to be a consulting party: CRM firms, universities, concerned citizens, Native American tribes, locals affected by the view- shed, town or city councils, businesses, politicians, non-profits, churches, professional guilds, etc. Anybody that can make a reasonable claim on why there is cultural heritage affected by the project that is of interest to them gets a voice in the process.

·         Encourages Public Engagement: Because there are funds automatically set aside by the project proponents to value cultural heritage before the project even gets underway, there is a monetary incentive for individuals and groups to get involved and have a say where those funds get directed. If they take part in the consultation process, they could secure funds for valuing the cultural heritage with which they feel a connection.

·         Balanced: This approach doesn’t hinder progress of new undertakings; it streamlines it. Project proponents know ahead of time that funds are going to be diverted to interested consulting parties and there is an incentive for a quick resolution to be reached so that the funds can be released to the communities and the project can get underway. At the same time, this approach values the cultural heritage that consulting parties care about, not an esoteric idea of something that meets pre-set criteria for conservation because of its age or style. Consulting communities bring the cultural heritage they are invested in to the table, and they choose how best to value it.


·         Corruption: In this cultural heritage system, the state-appointed foremen hold a considerable amount of power for greenlighting or halting projects. Consequently, there is the possibility that their appointments may be politically-driven rather than qualifications-driven. Additionally, if the foremen lack ethical fortitude, they could be bought out by either project proponents or consulting parties desiring a specific outcome from the consultation process, becoming ineffectual puppets of whosever pocket they reside.

·         Insufficient Budget: States allocate funds differently and a system like this that assigns a foreman to every project may run into insufficient funding for the number of foremen needed to carry the work load.

·         Consultation Gridlock/Dissatisfaction: If too many consulting parties are heavily invested in the cultural heritage possibly affected by an undertaking, reaching consensus may become impossible. Giving the foreman the power to make the ultimate decision can help alleviate this gridlock but may leave some consulting parties dissatisfied with the results of the consultation process.

·         Requires Public Vigilance: The onus of identifying and advocating for cultural heritage that could be affected by an undertaking shifts from the project proponent to the public. There are both positives and negatives to this shift. The downside is that it requires the public to be vigilant and continually check in on new projects to see if there is cultural heritage of interest to them that may be at risk. This system does not require a project proponent to search for and identify cultural heritage that they may affect; rather, consulting parties have the responsibility to make their voices heard and identify the cultural heritage (or the possibility of something of cultural value) that may be affected by an undertaking. Only the things of interest to the consulting parties are taken into consideration.


I believe a better cultural heritage program for the United States would focus on valuing cultural heritage, with that value designated and defined by those closest connected to it. This cultural heritage program is simple, easy to implement, and is inclusive of all parties expressing interest, without burdening a project proponent with duties to preserve heritage that is of no interest or value to anyone. It engages the public and puts funds back into the communities – hopefully in useful, creative, and meaningful ways – instead of only funding CRM practitioners and the generation of grey literature. I think the benefits of an efficiently stream-lined but still consultation-based cultural heritage program like this, greatly outweigh the potential drawbacks. This program gives the power to the people, and lets them value their cultural heritage on their terms.

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