Wednesday, 25 August 2010

More Problems with Accountability in Cultural Policy in the US

It seems that the coin dealers' lobbyists and Miami legalistic watchdogs Urice and Adler are the only ones to perceive problems in the legality of the way cultural policy is handled in the USA:
A new Government Accountability Office report centering on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is casting doubt on the ability of key federal agencies to follow the letter of the law. And the federal office charged with overseeing implementation was found to have a plethora of problems of its own.

The 1990 legislation is important to Indian communities because it created a legal process for federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return American Indian human remains and cultural items to respective tribes or lineal descendants. Before the policy was established, thousands of Native American artifacts and remains nationwide were desecrated, and many were sent to museums or anthropology labs for controversial study. Under the law, federal agencies and museums are required to take inventory and notify tribes about their collections and work in collaboration with tribes in determining a cultural link to the remains or objects.

But some federal agencies have not identified or reported all the remains or cultural items in their possession, according to the 106-page GAO report, which offers a wide-range of insights into the lack of federal progress involving the law over two decades.
See the full text here.

Perhaps the US really could do with a central body to oversee and guide cultural policy on the line of the ministries of culture which most other countries have? Why has the US not got one?

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