Environment | National

USDA report makes recommendations for sacred site protection





The Department of Agriculture issued its final sacred sites report today.

The report recommends that the U.S. Forest Service work more closely with tribes to identify and protect important sites on federal lands. It also proposes to broaden the definition of sacred sites in order to respect tribal religious and cultural views.

"American Indian and Alaska Native values and culture have made our nation rich in spirit and deserve to be honored and respected," Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. "By honoring and protecting sacred sites on national forests and grasslands, we foster improved tribal relationships and a better understanding of native people's deep reverence for natural resources and contributions to society."

The report was compiled after talks across the nation with tribes. But in and of itself, it does not constitute a policy change.

Any proposed changes will be made in consultation with tribes, the report said.

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Press Release: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Releases Final Sacred Sites Report (USDA 12/6)