On January 20th, too, we'll publish the winning entry here, and announce it to the media.
Meanwhile, five of the remaining six contestants -- awfully good sports all -- have agreed to let us publish their entries, so I'm publishing the first two below. More tomorrow and the next day, and I hope that the sixth entrant will grant her permission as well, in due course.
Thanks to all who entered. The judges all agreed that the main value of the HAT exercise was to get us thinking about positive possibilities, and to stimulate discussion. To that end, one of the judges -- Jeremy Wells of Roger Williams University -- is setting up a dedicated web site as soon as he gets back from the Caribbean bolt-hole to which he's fled for inauguration week.
Here without further ado are the first two of the six runners-up for the HAT award.
Trolling and Heritage
by Gabriel Cirra
“If it's a revolution, it's confusion...where there's confusion, a man who knows what he wants stands a good chance of getting it.” Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dynamite
The Trump phenomenon is a symptom of an information flow paradigm. Unbridled access to audience and unfiltered media now amounts to a revolution in information, which touches everything else. It may not seem like it, but the flurry of fake news, leaked emails, hacking, doxxing, and trolling is actually the phenomenon closest to direct democracy that the world has ever seen. This simple fact is the most terrifying reality of the rise of Trump: we naively thought that “direct democracy” would deliver justice and truth while freeing us from arbitrary oppression, but it is already clear that truth and justice are not part of the picture. Two documents have proven prophetic: the manifesto-like mission statements of Twitter and Wikileaks. But neither could predict the amount of trolls that would came along with the free flow of information. Perhaps, with Michel Serres, we can say that the troll is an “always-already,” an inherent parasite of any transfer of information; it follows that this version of direct democracy marks the trollification of the general public.
Clearly the internet’s preferred form of communication is the meme. Memes are word and image, information turned into currency, and are “hot” in that they are participatory: each deployment molds their meaning to the specificity of the situation. Memes are by far the most democratic media of image-creation and dissemination ever; free online utilities enable anyone to produce them, and social networks allow anyone to share them, and the bar for literacy in them is extremely low. Immediately they are weaponized by trolls.
Under neoliberalism, attitudes toward preservation are extremely closely tied to a mindset that uses inductive rationalism, the discipline of expertise, and space-planning metrics (as in the practice of real estate management). Committees are formed that overwhelmingly favor maintenance of the status quo; an attitude of “do no harm” combined with deference toward history and deferral of any decision that could expose itself to criticism. “History” has become “patterns of that which exists taken as precedent.”
With a classic mob mentality, groups of people become quite good at destroying things: the punk destruction of the Berlin wall, the Paris Commune’s toppling of the Vendôme Napoleon statue, etc. It is much easier to destroy a monument than to erect one, although these events have proven that iconoclasm is itself a type of iconism. But let’s take a more nuanced form of destruction: Dziga Vertov’s 1939 film “Man with a Movie Camera” uses a split-lens camera trick to divide a classical facade (of the Bolshoi theater) and twist the two halves together to collapse. Famously this film is about tools for revolution: tools of image-making. This tool of imagery simultaneously destroyed and preserved the Bolshoi, affixing another meaning onto it and repurposing it for the revolution.
What might troll-based direct democracy look like for preservation? Eventually, tools for image-making will be radically simplified: virus-free crack copies of Photoshop will be yours in exchange for watching an ad, and you can share your image as a spatial overlay geotagged onto the site that you propose. Radical architectural proposals—collages that use photographs of buildings as raw material—will be used to create visual arguments that are as manifold and clever as those of memes. If heritage belongs to the people, then direct democracy will recoup it. Like all others, this forum for discussion will now have to yield to the reality that “might makes right.” The confused experts will have to submit their work to the same channel, trolls and all. As “preservation experts,” we are faced with a fundamental choice: try to uphold the safeguards of neoliberal committee mentality as they lose credibility, or try to guide the discussion toward productivity, even radical productivity, within the new paradigm. We’ll see which gets more likes, the tastefully glazed protective canopy or the cat pic.
CRM Strategic Plan
By the Adams State University Cohort
We, the CRM Graduate Students at Adams State University have taken up the “Heritage After Trump” Challenge. This is a collaborative effort at modeling a more responsive cultural resource management (CRM) system. We are all passionate about our chosen field, and have diverse opinions on how to improve what we see as a flawed system that has strayed further away from its intended goals with each year. This is an exercise in bringing together many ideas from many sources into a coherent system.
Working on the assumption that both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) have been removed, our cohort believes that the term ‘cultural resources’ should refer to all resources with which humans interact. While previously limited to refer to physical manifestations of human activity over time, we believe that cultural resources are also that of the natural environment including, but not limited to, water, air, wildlife, and vegetation. We also believe that the intangible cultural realities of the diverse cultures and communities within the United States are included in this definition. The term ‘historic properties’ in the following document, while similar in intent
(properties that have been
determined to be significant ) as in the current Section 106 process, is
dissimilar in that our use of the term encompasses more of the potentially
significant resources that must be considered. Our intent is to blend
socioeconomic, traditional use, sacred site, archaeological, natural
environment, recreational, built environment and all other cultural resources
into a cohesive process of review that highlights the interrelationships of all
of these features in the human-inhabited world.
Section 1: CRM Strategic Plan
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the National Environmental Policy Act have, for at least 50 years, set the standards for CRM surveys and environmental impact assessments on a federal level in the United States. While flawed, there are certain aspects of both that have allowed for state, tribal, and local level agencies to develop and have oversight in their own jurisdictions. Overall, these aspects of the regulations have allowed for the protection of heritage and natural resources to be considered at a lower level than the federal. The impact of development on communities should be considered by the communities affected.
In the event that political action cancels the protections to cultural resources and disregards environmental assessment, CRM will have to create a self-monitoring system that affords protection to cultures, heritage and the environment. The current system has been lax in some areas and allowed developers opportunities to take advantage of loopholes in the system. A new CRM Strategic Plan, hereafter referred to as the Plan, will consider protection to cultural and natural resources in all facets of the industry, include more community involvement in discussion and project participation, and place a direct focus on how climate change is impacting the industry, both in site evaluation and in sustainable work methodology.
This CRM Plan will address the shortcomings of the system as it stands now and allow for internal checks and balances that will create regulations and policies that are enforceable from within. Through more direct public outreach, this Plan will serve to educate and involve tribes, local communities, businesses and developers in a more inclusive dialogue about the importance of our collective national heritage. As a result, all actions moving forward will examine project impacts to communities, cultural and natural resources, and allow active research and mitigation when addressing a human future that must be focused on the reality of climate change, adaptation and the creation of a sustainable future for all life on this planet.
The following sections outline the details of the Plan in more depth.
Section 2: CRM Relationships
Although often underfunded and understaffed, we feel that the current Tribal Historic Preservation Office(r) (THPO), State Historic Preservation Office(r) (SHPO), Certified Local Governments (CLG) and the NHPA structure work fairly well with one another. However, there are areas that could be improved and if these positions and partnerships are eliminated, CRM must continue to act on behalf of the industry to re-establish and recreate working relationships between communities and governments. Encouraging new positions that serve similar purposes, but are more transparent to tribes, communities and cultural resource professionals will allow research and preservation to continue regardless of federal oversight. For the purposes of this document, THPOs and SHPOs will be referred to as the current agencies they are, but also be considered as possible agencies and positions that have been recreated after potential federal elimination. The Regional Board of Cultural Resource Professionals (Regional Board of CRPs) (see Section 5) will work together as representatives of their states and regions to re-establish these important positions from a pool of qualified cultural resource professionals (CRPs).
Working to build and/or rebuild relationships, THPOs will act as a two-way conduit of information. THPOs will be consulted by archaeologists before fieldwork begins to discuss field methods, material culture
plants, and other cultural concerns - that will inform an archaeologist about
the culture they are engaged with. THPOs will share the findings and site
interpretation with tribes and local communities, assisting archaeologists
while engaging tribal members to be actively involved in projects and share
For development projects not on tribal lands, THPO employees will be available in conjunction with the Regional Board of CRPs to assist archaeologists in public outreach and education. More contact between tribal members, archaeologists, and the public will create more trust, interest, and cultural understanding between all parties. In addition, collaborative public outreach programs and CRM related training during projects will allow for more community oversight. Costs for these programs will be incurred by developers and be handled through permit fees (see Section 3).
Section 3: Permit Review
A qualified CRP will review and sign off on all permits for development projects including, but not limited to, extraction (including forestry and mining), grazing, building permits on historic properties or sites, or any other development permits that might impact communities and cultural resources. This would allow for site information to be followed from previously known sites adjacent to private building projects, and would engage a larger segment of the population to take an interest in the history and archaeology of their everyday landscape.
In addition to this initial permit review, and in the process of impending development, a detailed survey will be done on development areas and areas of potential impact, to be included with a Cultural Impact Statement (see Section 4).
Local building and development permit fees will cover the cost of CRP review and be based on the relevant scope of each project. Review will include potential impacts to cultural and natural resources as well as possible negative impacts to local communities. This review will be required by the Regional Board of CRPs and take place at the lowest level of government jurisdiction. Information from this review will be made available to federal, state and local governments as well as to impacted and concerned tribes and communities.
The CRP that performs this review will be selected for relevant area of expertise for each project type. In the event that other expertise is needed, the CRP will have the ability to subcontract with other CRPs and cultural resource staff as needed. The qualifications for the CRP shall include: regional certification; membership in a national database of CRPs; an advanced degree in the field of archaeology, anthropology, historical architecture, or a closely related field; five years of diverse full-time experience; one year supervised advanced analytical experience; one year advanced supervisory experience; and have a demonstrated ability to research, interpret, and generate reports in their respective cultural resource field.
Section 4: Surveys and Stakeholder Involvement
The current system requires federally owned land to be subjected to cultural resource inventory surveys; however, federal agencies have fallen short in meeting this requirement. In addition to initial permit reviews, closer scrutiny of any publicly owned land would be required, consisting of fully funded cultural resource surveys encompassing a wider range of tangible and intangible cultural materials and concepts. This cultural survey, together with historical studies (including relevant oral histories), and public input, would be a process to develop a specific Cultural Impact Statement. The CIS should clearly spell out the current and historical cultures in question and should spell out just as clearly both the scope of the proposed project and its probable impact on the current culture both initially and over the long term. Natural resources will be noted and current uses of sites will be considered and included in the evaluation of site impact - as can be reasonably expected, taking into account any requested privacy of cultural information, traditions and ceremonies. A specific CIS will allow a public discussion of cultural matters and project specific goals and effects. Allowing for transparency, the CIS will be available for public view, excluding culturally sensitive information. The costs for this intensive survey and CIS will be part of developer fees.
To aid in creating this CIS, a stakeholder board for each project would be created to include representatives from every cultural group impacted, including the local community. The stakeholder board would include representatives from concerned organizations and communities - corporations, government regulatory agencies, tribes, local residents, etc. - and have power to decide issues of contention before moving the project forward. Every stakeholder board will include an environmental representative from an outside, respected environmental organization, preferably non-government. Members of the board would be voted into position by consensus from their affiliated group. The establishment of the stakeholder board would be a part of initial mandatory consultation meetings with time allowed for each organization or impacted culture and community to decide on representatives. Consultation meetings would be scheduled well in advance and be required as part of the timeline included with project proposals. All stakeholder board members would be required to attend consultation meetings and consultation meetings would be open to the general public. If at large members of the impacted communities can’t reasonably make consultation meetings, recorded oral testimony or written testimony should be included in the consultation meetings.
Section 5: Appointment of National and Regional Cultural Resource Professionals
On the federal level, there will be a position termed National Archaeologist, chosen by and from a board of regional archaeologists and cultural resource professionals to serve in the position for no more than five years. While labeled National Archaeologist, this qualified individual will have experience with archaeology, historic architecture, and will be knowledgeable in all other facets of CRM. The National Archaeologist will be a national figure who aids and engages with the public at large. The National Archaeologist will head a board of regional archaeologists and CRPs with whom they regularly engage. Regional archaeologists and CRPs will be recognized members of the CRM community who carry a regional certification, are registered in a national database, and are active members of the CRM-CAN (see Section 6). All regional archaeologists and CRPs will be limited to a five year position. The regional staff of archaeologists and CRPs will serve to bring their expertise and varied skill sets to the attention of the National Archaeologist. In addition to providing valuable regional input, these staff members will provide support and resources to serve the lower level agencies such as SHPO, THPO, and CLG staff.
One initiative that the National Archaeologist will head is a research initiative looking at how humans have interacted with their environment and how they have adapted to changes in climate patterns in our past. Research in this area through soil samples, tree ring studies, soil deposition and other emerging research methods will be important for archaeologists to add to the growing battle against climate change.
The National Archaeologist will work in conjunction with Regional Board of CRPs in public outreach, including an open invitation to business owners and developers to participate in ongoing education about cultural heritage and climate research.
The National Archaeologist and Regional Board of CRPs will initiate the digitization of information that will be available across jurisdictions to aid in CRM research. The digitization of information effort will help to document climate change impacts on particular regions and populations, including vulnerable natural and cultural resources.
Section 6: CRM and Climate Change
Regardless of whether the National Park Service (NPS) continues to exist, CRM professionals will make every good attempt to follow the goals outlined in the NPS Policy Memorandum 14 - 02 in addressing climate change and impacts on vulnerable cultural resources. By adopting these goals as standard practice, the CRM industry can work to study and record valuable information that may be lost to an unpredictable climate. As a matter of standard policy, cultural resource management should always consider the impacts of an ever changing climate on both cultural and natural resources, and research should be timely and thorough on threatened sites of importance. In every situation, reasonable data should be collected that will allow future researchers to study the area more in depth in the event the site is lost, including ecological data such as plant, soil, water and air samples.
CRM can address climate change in research, data collection, and long term storage of information and artifacts. While CRM has an obligation to consider specific climate change and adaptation questions in every research problem, the industry also needs to be sustainable in its implementation of methodology, utilizing tools and technologies that mitigate climate impact. Noninvasive technologies should be used whenever possible and reburying over artifact collection should be considered in sites that are safe from imminent destruction and long term climate vulnerability. In the event that artifacts or features must be removed to make way for infrastructure, those items would be stored in the communities most affiliated with the area or cultural history. As part of the project costs, project developers would be responsible for long term storage of artifacts, ideally by establishing a cultural heritage center in the impacted communities.
In every facet of the CRM industry moving forward, the most sustainable methods must be chosen in data collection and storage, interaction with communities and businesses, education within the industry, and public outreach. Education and hands on involvement in CRM work is beneficial in creating working relationships with cultures to address their own needs and obstacles related to the changing climate, including the stewardship of their own cultural heritage. Providing information about sustainable practices in the rehabilitation of historic properties and in museum curation enables local communities to protect their cultural resources with a lower carbon footprint. CRM can be a part of that education process, but CRM professionals must also be willing to learn from indigenous and local cultures. Traditional knowledge provides an invaluable tool in site research and aids in understanding human climate adaptation. Forming a bridge between the past and the future, CRM’s success, like the success of the human race, relies on adaptation to a changing and unpredictable climate.
In contract work, CRM professionals should always determine the most effective way to address climate change, and consider refusing contracts regarding development that will result in a negative outcome on natural and cultural resources, including living communities and their homelands. In order to fight climate change, CRM must present itself on the environmental moral high ground and do its part to protect all cultural resources, both past and present in the most sustainable ways. With a strong and diverse stakeholder base, any developer will be made aware of the impacts of development projects on both natural and cultural resources, and be given opportunities through stakeholder consultations to address community concerns.
One way the CRM industry can move toward sustainability is to form an alliance open to all CRM professionals who are interested in being leaders in the fight against climate change. A professional CRM Climate Action Network (CRM-CAN) would allow members an opportunity to work together in an effort to make the industry more sustainable and focus on climate change in all research questions and methodology. A recognized CRM climate organization that included anthropologists, archaeologists, historians and environmental scientists would give the industry more collective power to fight climate injustice against people and natural resources. In addition to the important work cultural resource management does to preserve and record the past, CRM can also be a leader in actively addressing climate change.
A place to start in the protection of natural resources is to form a CRM Natural Resource Bill of Rights which would recognize geographical features as important contributors to the habitat of local species and communities. In addition, the effects of development projects must be monitored over the long term on all natural resources and communities that might in any way be impacted. Natural resources will be considered as part of an ecological system that all species, including humans, are a part of. Each development project and its effects will have to be weighed in relation to regional and world ecosystem functionality.
Developers that harm natural and cultural resources will be held accountable through large fines (decided upon by stakeholders prior to project commencement) that accrue daily as they continue to move forward against advisement. If a developer does not heed the rules and regulations set forth through stakeholder involvement, that company will lose the opportunity to work with the CRM-CAN and affiliations in the future and every action performed in violation will go on record for future litigation by affected communities and the CRM-CAN. Litigation for failure to comply will result in damages paid directly to affected communities in perpetuity.
Section 7: Project Bid Review and Budget Considerations
Currently, a weak point in the environmental assessment and CRM structure is the bidding process. It is all too common that the lowest bidder is awarded the contract for the work.
The bidding process is where tribal and community consultation begins. Tribes and local communities can communicate their interest towards areas of focused research and investigation, and budgets should reflect these needs. Tribes can provide an estimate for THPO employee time and the costs that will be incurred on project involvement. All of these concerns will be addressed in individual project bids.
The CRP review process is initiated at the time a project that will physically, visually, or audibly affect the natural or built environment and requires federal, state, or local government approval, funding, or contracting. The governing agency will have criteria regarding whether the project is of the nature requiring intensive CRP review, as determined by an on-staff CRP who will conduct an initial assessment which will include direct consultation with interested/potentially affected parties. If it is determined that an intensive CRP review is required the governing agency will route the project proposal through an online portal system (organized and searchable by State) that posts for all CRPs (and their respective firms) to then have the opportunity to review and bid on the project within a specific timeline.
At the end of this period the bids received are sent to the THPO/SHPO who will provide comments. The THPO/SHPO may veto any bids that do not meet expectations for a quality and inclusive review. The agency/project proponent then will select the CRP from remaining bids. Once the cultural and environmental studies have been completed the findings will be sent to all consulting parties for comment and THPO/SHPO review.
All parties will work together to avoid negative impacts to the natural and cultural environment where feasible, minimize impacts to the highest level possible where they cannot be avoided, and utilize the information gained from the studies to benefit the public and affected communities to offset these impacts if deemed adverse. If there are substantial concerns regarding the impacts of the project on the cultural or natural environment, a 100% consensus solution must be reached to remedy the concerns whether by alteration of project scope, or through compensatory action.
Any disputes will be brought to the Regional CRP’s attention who will act as the arbitrator. The Regional CRP and National Archaeologist may intervene at any time during the review process if matters of concern are brought to their attention.
In addition to the current average CRM bid, a percentage of the total contract for bid will be set aside in a Cultural Resources Bank (CRB). This would be a fund administered by the Office of the National Archaeologist to fund further investigation on important ‘surprise’ sites that were unanticipated by tribes and CRM firms and will require more money to investigate than firms looking to build a pipeline, cell tower, wind farm etc. can profitably take on. The CRB will allow important sites to be investigated instead of having the research stopped because the cultural mitigation is cost prohibitive. This, along with a more rigorous bidding process, will work to mitigate the divide between developers and cultural resource professionals.
A projected externalized cost will be required in every developer’s budget to include:
· Permit fees
· Survey and CIS related fees
· Cultural Resource Bank percentage deposit
· Remediation insurance costs
· Mitigation allowances for initial damages to the environment, including soil, water and air
· Long term monitoring and maintenance and repairs of infrastructure
· Environmental testing (soil, water, air) before, during and after development
· Royalties or lease fees to tribes/communities based upon forecast profits of infrastructure purpose
· Storage implementation and associated fees for artifacts and the movement of features
· Public outreach to include education and training on projects for local communities and interested developers
· Each project is required to offset it’s carbon cost through the purchase of carbon credits or other approved (by Stakeholder Board) means
· Daily fines to be determined by Stakeholder Board for development that breaks laws and regulations imposed by federal, state and/or local agencies overseeing project
Section 8: CRM Cultural Bill of Rights
The ideal system we imagine stresses the importance of positive relationships between the CRM industry and tribal and/or local communities. Regulations for survey and oversight should involve local and state jurisdictions and be enforceable on all levels. Coordination would be required between federal, state and local agencies for public outreach and communication, as well as internal industry news and policy.
A CRM Cultural Bill of Rights will be created to protect heritage, traditions and lifestyles of all people who are impacted by research and development, to include but not limited to:
· People have a right to their own past and present cultures, including access.
· People have the right to maintain artifact storage and display in their own heritage communities.
· People have a right to continue their traditions and have access to sacred sites.
· People have the right to practice and celebrate their cultures, as long as traditions harm none.
· People have the right to live healthfully, peacefully and peaceably.
· People have the right to be involved in the research and information sharing of their own cultural heritage.
· People have the right to express their concerns with development that involves their own history, their traditional lands and their quality of life.
Section 9: Conclusion/Moving Forward
In order to move forward in a politically unstable and climate-changing world, CRM has to adapt quickly to emerge as a leader in social and environmental justice. Many of the CRM systems currently in place are open to misinterpretation and contain loopholes that leave our national heritage at risk and put life forms and habitats in jeopardy. While considering the most effective and sustainable methods to perform our work, cultural resource professionals also have an obligation to protect communities and natural resources that might be affected by future development.
This Plan offers opportunities that stress the importance of partnerships between agencies, tribes, and communities. Moving forward, we have the opportunity to learn from each other and create better working relationships. This model stresses transparency between all stakeholders and implements actions to insure public outreach and education. Data dissemination among stakeholders and research communities will become standard practice to aid in industry and public awareness. The Plan addresses the climate both in the study of how past cultures have impacted and adapted to their local geographies, and how CRM can be sustainable in its methodology while contributing data to climatology studies. It acknowledges the rights of all people and sets an originating point for adopting and implementing a CRM Cultural Bill of Rights.
The ideas presented in this document are simply a beginning of the dialogue that needs to take place between all stakeholders on this planet. Following the guidelines in this CRM Plan presents opportunities to address some of the current concerns in the CRM industry. Participation in the “Heritage After Trump” challenge has given the Adams State CRM cohort an opportunity to collaborate and contribute to the important conversation that will reshape the field of cultural resource management. We are grateful to have our ideas considered and hope to help reshape CRM into an optimally responsible, sustainable, adaptable and caring industry.