SAA, along with several other organizations, is seeking
examples of projects involving expenditures of federal or state taxpayers'
money that could harm or have damaged archaeological and/or cultural
Donald Forsyth Craib
The information will be used in a report to be published by the Taxpayers for
Common Sense, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cutting wasteful government
spending, subsidies, and tax breaks through research and public education. By
linking together many cases in which government spending has harmed cultural
resources, the report seeks to increase media attention dramatically on
wasteful spending and to raise policy makers' awareness of the destruction of
our nation's rich and diverse archaeological heritage.
Examples of federal or state wasteful spending must meet the following
1. Activity requires investment of federal or state government money.
2. Investment can include spending, subsidies, or tax breaks.
3. Project can still be stoppable (i.e., it is not too late to halt a
4. Activity imminently threatens known archaeological or cultural
5. Project faces significant and organized local opposition.
If you are aware of any ongoing projects or activities that meet the above
criteria, please contact me at SAA headquarters at (202) 789-8200 or
Donald Forsyth Craib is manager, government affairs, and counsel of SAA.
Legislators have trouble supporting programs that they do
not understand, and the SAA, for some time, has encouraged its members to
educate public policy makers about the importance of archaeology. On moving to
Washington, D.C., a few months ago, I decided to bolster my congressional
members' knowledge about archaeology in Tennessee, my home state. The timing
was perfect because the Second Annual Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Week was
set to begin, and I had related materials available for distribution, including
a wonderful educational poster.
I contacted Donald Craib, SAA's government affairs person, for help and
information on whom to call and what approach to take. He quickly provided me
with background information on my specific congressional members and their
staffs, including key legislative assistants. Legislative assistants compile
research and advise congressional members on a multitude of issues, including
cultural resources and education.
I called and met with the legislative assistants who focus on environmental and
cultural resources. Their background knowledge in archaeology varied--one had
actually studied anthropology--but they all welcomed the input on a
constituent's subject of concern. These meetings fueled their interest in and
knowledge of archaeology and the federal government's impact on historic
preservation. If nothing else, they received new posters to hang on their walls
and an update of recent Tennessee archaeology.
I would urge all archaeologists coming to Washington, D.C., to set up an
appointment with their congressional delegations. These meetings can, of
course, readily take place in the home state as well. It is a painless task
(they don't even expect constituents to dress up) with immeasurable impact.
If you are coming to Washington, D.C., and would like to meet with your
members, contact Donald Craib at SAA headquarters. He can arrange meetings for
you and provide the necessary background information.
Katherine Sanford is a graduate student in anthropology at George Washington