Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Honored for Leadership Protecting Native American Sacred Sites at 40th Anniversary of Native American Heritage Commission

October 25, 2016
Press Release

Congressman Garamendi Honored for Leadership Protecting Sacred Native American Sites at 40th Anniversary Gala for Native American Heritage Commission.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA) was honored with an award for his leadership in protecting California’s tribal cultural resources at the 40th Anniversary Gala for the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC).

“To be recognized at the 40th anniversary of the Native American Heritage Commission is an incredible honor. Sacred Native American burial sites need to be treated with care and respect. It is the least we can do to honor the memory of the first Americans,” Congressman Garamendi said. “When I was in the State Senate, I saw too many developments destroy irreplaceable burial sites without any meaningful oversight or protections, so I authored a law to give the Native American Heritage Commission the power it needed to be an effective mediator and regulatory body. More than three decades later, their essential work continues.”

In 1981, then-Senator Garamendi introduced Senate Bill 297, legislation that authorized the NAHC to identify and catalog known Native American cemeteries and sacred sites. It also empowered the NAHC to resolve disputes related to the care and treatment of Native American graves, skeletal remains, and items associated with Native American burials. SB 297 also required that the NAHC contact people believed to be the most likely descendants upon the discovery of Native American human remains.

In the ensuing years, Garamendi’s leadership has helped protect sacred sites that were previously much more vulnerable to encroaching development. Today, Congressman Garamendi is proud to represent nine federally recognized Native American tribes in Congress.