Bureaucrats are pulling a fast one again. In the midst of holiday distractions, on short notice, bureaucrats are calling a meeting to decide if Boston cronies can get away with seizing human rights away from Indigenous Peoples of Massachusetts and the Northeast. In an incestuous and secretive closed-door meetings, bureaucrats in Boston want to decide what will happen with the legacy belonging to regional and state tribes.
Bureaucrats are suddenly moving to close the subject in advance of promised discourse. H. 3982 does not meet Massachusetts ethical standards for transparency, racial equity and non-discrimination, while it also fails international agreements on Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples signed by the USA.
(More details here: https://www.ethicarch.org/post/neo-colonial-legislators-move-to-seize-control-of-indigenous-cultural-property-and-archaeology)
Zoom meeting link here (Tuesday Dec. 7th, 1-4 PM):
Register for Your Voice in Democracy - 3 minutes, by Sunday Dec. 5th at 5 PM:
MEAS and concerned archaeologists have proposed a bill for preservation of archaeology in Massachusetts (incl. geology and fossils) that meets international standards, international agreements, and our own state policies:
Resolved hereby is the establishment of a special commission on assessing and preserving the archaeological, geological, and fossil resources of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Said special commission shall review existing special and general laws, will hold hearings at various locations across the Commonwealth to obtain written and oral testimony and will consult with state and federal agencies, educators, technical experts, indigenous rights and historic preservation workers both private and municipal, and Indigenous tribes with legacy in Massachusetts to bring state laws into compliance with our national agreement to honor the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular Articles 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Said commission will also ensure that such laws adequately protect, provide public access to and emic-voiced interpretation of the archaeological, geological and fossil resources located within or from theCommonwealth of Massachusetts. Said special commission shall be comprised ofthree:
One delegate from every Indigenous nation recognized, formally or informally, by the Office of Federal Acknowledgement and/or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts historically within or abutting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as chosen by those nations, and three delegates representing unrecognized and unrepresented Indigenous people of Massachusetts;
Other delegates shall be selected by blind review of applications based upon qualified work and co-submitted affidavit of no conflict of interest as defined below, which applications will be reviewed for selection by a majority vote of a panel of volunteer electors representing professional and academic geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, historic preservationists, educators in those subjects, and community volunteers in those areas, each with especial work focus and expertise on Massachusetts, and shall comprise:
Two geologists, two archaeologists, two paleontologists, one expert on Indigenous rights and international human rights law, one expert on historic preservation, one expert on protected land law enforcement, one expert on archaeological preservation, one expert on Indigenous ethnography of the Northeast United States, one expert on legislative law, one worker in restorative justice and one expert on public interpretative education.
Public meetings on this bill shall be held in all districts and may be attended with participation by senators and representatives of each district. Legislators may fill the role of host and gather in comment, including their own comment.
Said special commission shall review all statutes, regulations, ordinances and practices related to these resources, including but not limited to how public and private institutions and agencies collect, preserve, display, notify the public of discoveries, return objects and sacred remains to Native American tribes and related organizations and provide public access to educate and inform the public about these archaeological, geological and fossil discoveries. Said special commission may receive funding through state appropriation or grants, federal appropriation or grants, private gifts and donations, provided, that said special commission shall file a preliminary report with the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture and the clerks of the House and Senate no later than November 1,2022.
The preliminary report will be submitted to the Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the United Nations, whose recommendations will also be attached to the report.
The reviewed and appended report will be submitted for public review and comment, which comments will be subsequently appended. This fully appended report will then be submitted to the House and Senate no later than XXXXXX. Recommendations and comments appended to the report will remain appended to all related/resulting laws for reference as part of assessing the efficacy of measures taken.
All actions regarding this report and subsequent legislation will be transparent and open to public review with comment.
Explanation of proposed changes-
Line 1: “Resolved, There is . . .” is not grammatical.
Lines 6-9: An ethical law must be founded in ethics and justice. The United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples was signed by the USA and all member nations of the UN. We agreed to abide by these ethics and standards. It is incumbent upon us to honor our international agreements. That document represents the agreed upon ethics and standards worldwide. Within UNDRIP is a provision that Indigenous people retain the right to determine the disposition of our cultural properties, as well as interpretation thereof.
Lines 13-16: In order for laws to comply with human, rights, rights of Indigenous Peoples and ethics as proposed within MHC policy and Commonwealth of Massachusetts policy, including, but not limited to, equal protection, equal access to services and benefits, and non-discrimination, Indigenous nations must have a determinative position as to that portion of this 3-part preservation process that pertains to Indigenous historical, archaeological and cultural legacy.
Lines 18-23: The people who are best prepared to draft ethical, effective and just law are those who are expert in the areas that law would address. To avoid the historic roadblocks of cronyism, stacking commissions politically, over-empowering of those who are not expert on matters, and perpetuating past failures, we should apply standard non-discrimination hiring practices to Commonwealth establishment of this commission. An ethical commission should be staffed according to the standard of ethic in human resources practices, which is a blind review of applications, followed by in-person interview. Selection should likewise be based on the ethical standard of qualification and experience.
Lines 25-29: The list of persons here reflects precisely those skills that fulfill the stated goals of this bill.
Lines 31-33: All districts in Massachusetts contain significant archaeological, geological or fossil resources. Excluding any district makes no sense based on objective fact, especially in light of the fact that survey and investigation are sharply uneven among districts and towns, where some areas are relatively undocumented in some categories. As well, all citizens have the right to equal representation. Thus, all districts should have the option to participate, and should be encouraged to do so.
Lines 45-52: These steps assure that the result of the gathering of voices, data, and resulting report will remain consistent with stated goals at the outset. Involvement of the Special Rapporteur from the UN will assure that our interpretation of internationally agreed standards is correct. This will also prevent later conflict. The houses of legislation will determine the last date.
Links to lists of Indigenous Nations with archaeological legacy in Massachusetts -
UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This document was signed by the USA and all nations of the UN. We agreed to abide by this declaration:
STATE NOTICE (thanks to Rochelle Prunty and Greg Skibiski for notification): PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE Date of Hearing: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 Time: 1:00 PM-4:00 PM Location: Virtual Hearing Stream Live: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4112 Forestry, Funding and Administrative Infrastructure
The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will host a virtual hearing on Tuesday December 7, 2021 at 1PM on the legislation listed in the docket below. Persons seeking to provide oral testimony must pre-register via this form: https://forms.office.com/g/AjGFgHJZeW Please pre-register by Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 5PM. Once registered, you will receive an invitation to join the hearing one day prior to the hearing. Please note there is a time limit of 3 minutes per person for oral testimony. Written testimony may also be submitted to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture by email to: JointCommittee.Environment@malegislature.gov. Pre-registration through the above form is not required for written testimony. There is no formal deadline for written testimony, though a timely submission allows the Committee time to thoroughly review testimony. Please contact Shannon Emmett, the committee's Research Director, with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill No. Sponsor Title H856 Blais, Natalie M. (HOU) An Act authorizing the establishment of old growth forest reserves H874 Cutler, Josh S. (HOU) An Act creating a special commission to scope a state grant or low interest loan program for properties prone to flooding H899 Dykema, Carolyn C. (HOU) An Act relative to the control of tick-borne illness H905 Ehrlich, Lori A. (HOU) An Act establishing the municipal reforestation program H912 Finn, Michael J. (HOU) An Act relative to forest protection H922 Garballey, Sean (HOU) An Act to create a special commission to study the effects of rat poison on wildlife H945 Hunt, Daniel J. (HOU) An Act relative to DCR retained revenue H951 Kearney, Patrick Joseph (HOU) An Act requiring a Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership Seat on the seaport economic counsel H972 Mark, Paul W. (HOU) An Act relative to harvesting of forest products H977 Muradian, Jr., David K. (HOU) An Act relative to critical wildlife habitat management H983 Peake, Sarah K. (HOU) An Act establishing a Massachusetts flood risk protection program H999 Rogers, David M. (HOU) An Act responding to the threat of invasive species H1000Roy, Jeffrey N. (HOU) An Act to assist municipal and district ratepayers H1002Sabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU) An Act relative to increased protection of wildlife management areas H1003Sabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU) An Act to Ensure Accountability and Public Rights Regarding Commercial Tree Harvesting on Commonwealth-owned Lands H1027Whipps, Susannah M. (HOU) An Act improving access to the natural and recreational resources of Massachusetts H3835Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) An Act to overcome coastal and environmental acidification and nutrient pollution H3955Kearney, Patrick Joseph (HOU) An Act relative to a marine special activity license program H3982Carey, Daniel R. (HOU) Resolve relative to protecting the archaeological, geological and fossil resources of Massachusetts H4022Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) An Act to protect Cape Cod's environment and water supply H4102Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) An Act establishing the Blue Communities Program S504 Creem, Cynthia Stone (SEN) An Act establishing the municipal reforestation program S531 Eldridge, James B. (SEN) An Act relative to critical wildlife habitat management S557 Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) An Act preserving old growth forests S558 Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) An Act to protect public and private woodlands and woodlots in the Commonwealth S561 Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) An Act promoting and protecting Massachusetts forests S562 Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) An Act reducing unnecessary destruction of forests S563 Jehlen, Patricia D. (SEN) An Act responding to the threat of invasive species S565 Kennedy, Edward J. (SEN) An Act re-establishing the Clean Environment Fund S586 Moore, Michael O. (SEN) An Act to assist municipal and district ratepayers S588 Moore, Michael O. (SEN) An Act establishing an environmental police cadet program S594 O'Connor, Patrick M. (SEN) An Act establishing a regional dredge grants program S598 O'Connor, Patrick M. (SEN) An Act relative to the financing of dredging projects S603 Pacheco, Marc R. (SEN) An Act establishing a Massachusetts Flood Risk Protection Program S616 Tarr, Bruce E. (SEN) An Act creating a special commission to scope a state grant or low interest loan program for properties prone to flooding<
Please be advised that the schedule and agenda are subject to change at the discretion of the Chairs per committee rules. Best, Shannon Emmett Research Director Chair Carolyn C. Dykema Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture State House | Boston, MA 02133 (C): 978-882-5633 Pronouns: She/Her/Hers