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[Congressional Record: February 14, 2001 (Senate)]
[Page S1395-S1425]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr14fe01-187]                         



 
          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

		  
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. AKAKA (for himself, Mr. Inouye, and Mr. Graham):
  S. 329. A bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a 
theme study on the peopling of America, and for other purposes; to the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, America is truly unique in that almost all 
of us are migrants or immigrants to the United States, originating in 
different regions--whether from Asia, from islands in the Pacific 
Ocean, Mexico, or valleys and mesas of the Southwest, Europe or other 
regions of the world. The prehistory and the contemporary history of 
this nation are inextricably linked to the mosaic or migrations, 
immigrations and existing cultures in the U.S. that has resulted in the 
peopling of America. Americans are all travelers from diverse areas, 
regions, continents and islands.
  We need a better understanding of this coherent and unifying theme in 
America. With this in mind, I am introducing legislation, along with my 
colleagues Senator Inouye and Senator Graham, authorizing the National 
Park Service to conduct a theme study on the peopling of America. An 
identical bill passed the Senate last Congress, and I am optimistic 
that the Senate will again pass this bill.
  The purpose of the study is to provide a basis for identifying, 
interpreting and preserving sites related to the migration, immigration 
and settling of America. The peopling of America is the story of our 
nation's population and how we came to be the diverse set of people 
that we are today. The peopling of America will acknowledge the 
contributions and trials of the first peoples who settled the North 
American continent, the Pacific Islands, and the lands that later 
became the United States of America. The peopling of America has 
continued as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English laid claim 
to lands and opened the floodgates of European migration and the 
involuntary migration of Africans to the Americas.
  This was just the beginning. America has been growing and changing 
ever since. It is critical that we document and include the growth and 
change in the United States as groups of people move across external 
and internal boundaries that make up our nation. By understanding all 
our contributions, the strength within all cultures, and the diffusion 
of cultural ways through the United States, we will be a better nation. 
The strength of American culture is in our diversity and rests on a 
comprehensive understanding of the peopling of America.
  The theme study I am proposing will authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to identify regions, areas, trails, districts and cultures 
that illustrate and commemorate key events in the migration, 
immigration and settlement of the population of the United States, and 
which can provide a basis for the preservation and interpretation of 
the peopling of America. It includes preservation and education 
strategies to capture elements of our national culture and history such 
as immigration, migration, ethnicity, family, gender, health, 
neighborhood, and community. In addition, the study will make 
recommendations regarding National Historic Landmark designations and 
National Register of Historic Places nominations, as appropriate. The 
study will also facilitate the development of cooperative programs with 
education institutions, public history organizations, state and local 
governments, and groups knowledgeable about the peopling of America.
  We are entering a new millennium with hope and opportunity. It is 
incumbent on us to reflect on the extent to which the energy and wealth 
of the United States depends on our population diversity. Looking back, 
we understand that our history, and our very national character, is 
defined by the grand, entangled movements of people to America and 
across the American landscape--through original residency, European 
colonization, forced migrations, economic migrations, or politically-
motivated immigration--that has given rise to the rich interactions 
that make the American character and experience unique. I would venture 
to say that no other nation has the heterogeneous patchwork of 
migration and movement around the country that is found and that makes 
us the American Nation.

  We embody the cultures and traditions that our forebears brought from 
other places and shores, as well as the new traditions and cultures 
that we adopted or created anew upon arrival. Whether we are the 
original inhabitants of the rich Pacific Northwest, settled in the 
rangelands and agrarian West, the industrialized Northeast, the small 
towns of the Midwest, or the genteel cities of the South, our forebears 
inevitably contributed their background and created new relationships 
with peoples of other backgrounds and cultures. Our rich heritage as 
Americans is comprehensible only through the stories of our various 
constituent cultures, carried with us from other lands and transformed 
by encounters with other cultures.
  All Americans are travelers. All cultures have creation stories and 
histories that place us here from somewhere. Whether we came to this 
land as native peoples. English colonists, Africans who were brought in 
slavery, Filipinos who came to work in Hawaii's cane fields, Mexican 
ranchers, or Chinese merchants, the process by which our nation was 
peopled transformed us from strangers from different shores into 
neighbors unified in our inimitable diversity--Americans all. It is 
essential for us to understand this process, not only to understand who 
and where we are, but also to help us understand who we wish to be and 
where we should be headed as a nation. As the caretaker of some of our 
most important cultural and historical resources, from Ellis Island to 
San Juan Island, from Chaco Canyon to Kennesaw Mountain, the National 
Park Service is in a unique position to conduct a study that can offer 
guidance on this fundamental subject.
  Currently we have only one focal point in the national park system 
that celebrates the peopling of America with significance. Ellis Island 
and the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Ellis Island welcomed over 
12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954, an overwhelming majority 
of whom crossed the Atlantic from Europe. Ellis Island celebrates these 
immigrant experiences through their museum, historic buildings, and 
memorial wall. Immensely popular as it is, Ellis Island is focused on 
Atlantic immigration and thus reflects the experience only of those 
groups (primarily Eastern and Southern Europeans) who were processed at 
the island during its active period, 1892-1954.
  Not all immigrants and their descendants can identify with Ellis 
Island. Tens of millions of other immigrants traveled to our great 
country through other ports of entry and in different periods of our 
Nation's history and prehistory. Ellis Island tells only part of the 
American story. There are other chapters, just as compelling, that must 
be told.
  On the West Coast, Angel Island Immigration Station, tucked in San 
Francisco Bay, was open from 1910 to 1940 and processed hundreds of 
thousands of Pacific Rim immigrants through its portals. An estimated 
175,000 Chinese immigrants and more than 20,000 Japanese made the long 
Pacific passage to the United States. Their experiences are a West 
Coast mirror of the Ellis Island experience. But the migration story on 
the West Coast is much longer and broader than Angel Island. Many 
earlier migrants to the West Coast contributed to the rich history of 
California, including the original resident

[[Page S1403]]

Native Americans, Spanish explorers, Mexican ranchers, Russian 
colonists, American migrants from the Eastern states who came overland 
or around the Horn, German and Irish military recruits, Chinese 
railroad laborers, Portuguese and Italian farmers, and many other 
groups. The diversity and experience of these groups reflects the 
diversity and experience of all immigrants who entered the United 
States via the Western states, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, 
and California.
  The study we propose is consistent with the agency's latest official 
thematic framework which establishes the subject of human population 
movement and change--or ``peopling places''--as a primary thematic 
category for study and interpretation. The framework, which serves as a 
general guideline for interpretation, was revised in 1996 in response 
to a Congressional mandate--Civil War Sites Study Act of 1990, Public 
Law 101-628, Sec. 1209--that the full diversity of American history and 
prehistory be expressed in the National Park Service's identification 
and interpretation of historic and prehistoric properties.
  In conclusion, we believe that this bill will shed light on the 
unique blend of pluralism and unity that characterizes our national 
polity. With its responsibility for cultural and historical parks, the 
Park Service plays a unique role in enhancing our understanding of the 
peopling of America and thus of a fuller comprehension of our 
relationships with each other--past, present, and future.
  I urge my colleagues to support this initiative. I ask unanimous 
consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 329

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Peopling of America Theme 
     Study Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) an important facet of the history of the United States 
     is the story of how the United States was populated;
       (2) the migration, immigration, and settlement of the 
     population of the United States--
       (A) is broadly termed the ``peopling of America''; and
       (B) is characterized by--
       (i) the movement of groups of people across external and 
     internal boundaries of the United States and territories of 
     the United States; and
       (ii) the interactions of those groups with each other and 
     with other populations;
       (3) each of those groups has made unique, important 
     contributions to American history, culture, art, and life;
       (4) the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, political, and 
     economic vitality of the United States is a result of the 
     pluralism and diversity of the American population;
       (5) the success of the United States in embracing and 
     accommodating diversity has strengthened the national fabric 
     and unified the United States in its values, institutions, 
     experiences, goals, and accomplishments;
       (6)(A) the National Park Service's official thematic 
     framework, revised in 1996, responds to the requirement of 
     section 1209 of the Civil War Sites Study Act of 1990 (16 
     U.S.C. 1a-5 note; title XII of Public Law 101-628), that 
     ``the Secretary shall ensure that the full diversity of 
     American history and prehistory are represented'' in the 
     identification and interpretation of historic properties by 
     the National Park Service; and
       (B) the thematic framework recognizes that ``people are the 
     primary agents of change'' and establishes the theme of human 
     population movement and change--or ``peopling places''--as a 
     primary thematic category for interpretation and 
     preservation; and
       (7) although there are approximately 70,000 listings on the 
     National Register of Historic Places, sites associated with 
     the exploration and settlement of the United States by a 
     broad range of cultures are not well represented.
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
       (1) to foster a much-needed understanding of the diversity 
     and contribution of the breadth of groups who have peopled 
     the United States; and
       (2) to strengthen the ability of the National Park Service 
     to include groups and events otherwise not recognized in the 
     peopling of the United States.

     SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of the Interior.
       (2) Theme study.--The term ``theme study'' means the 
     national historic landmark theme study required under section 
     4.
       (3) Peopling of america.--The term ``peopling of America'' 
     means the migration, immigration, and settlement of the 
     population of the United States.

     SEC. 4. NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK THEME STUDY ON THE 
                   PEOPLING OF AMERICA.

       (a) Theme Study Required.--The Secretary shall prepare and 
     submit to Congress a national historic landmark theme study 
     on the peopling of America.
       (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the theme study shall be to 
     identify regions, areas, trails, districts, communities, 
     sites, buildings, structures, objects, organizations, 
     societies, and cultures that--
       (1) best illustrate and commemorate key events or decisions 
     affecting the peopling of America; and
       (2) can provide a basis for the preservation and 
     interpretation of the peopling of America that has shaped the 
     culture and society of the United States.
       (c) Identification and Designation of Potential New 
     National Historic Landmarks.--
       (1) In general.--The theme study shall identify and 
     recommend for designation new national historic landmarks.
       (2) List of appropriate sites.--The theme study shall--
       (A) include a list, in order of importance or merit, of the 
     most appropriate sites for national historic landmark 
     designation; and
       (B) encourage the nomination of other properties to the 
     National Register of Historic Places.
       (3) Designation.--On the basis of the theme study, the 
     Secretary shall designate new national historic landmarks.
       (d) National Park System.--
       (1) Identification of sites within current units.--The 
     theme study shall identify appropriate sites within units of 
     the National Park System at which the peopling of America may 
     be interpreted.
       (2) Identification of new sites.--On the basis of the theme 
     study, the Secretary shall recommend to Congress sites for 
     which studies for potential inclusion in the National Park 
     System should be authorized.
       (e) Continuing Authority.--After the date of submission to 
     Congress of the theme study, the Secretary shall, on a 
     continuing basis, as appropriate to interpret the peopling of 
     America--
       (1) evaluate, identify, and designate new national historic 
     landmarks; and
       (2) evaluate, identify, and recommend to Congress sites for 
     which studies for potential inclusion in the National Park 
     System should be authorized.
       (f) Public Education and Research.--
       (1) Linkages.--
       (A) Establishment.--On the basis of the theme study, the 
     Secretary may identify appropriate means for establishing 
     linkages--
       (i) between--

       (I) regions, areas, trails, districts, communities, sites, 
     buildings, structures, objects, organizations, societies, and 
     cultures identified under subsections (b) and (d); and
       (II) groups of people; and

       (ii) between--

       (I) regions, areas, trails, districts, communities, sites, 
     buildings, structures, objects, organizations, societies, and 
     cultures identified under subsection (b); and
       (II) units of the National Park System identified under 
     subsection (d).

       (B) Purpose.--The purpose of the linkages shall be to 
     maximize opportunities for public education and scholarly 
     research on the peopling of America.
       (2) Cooperative arrangements.--On the basis of the theme 
     study, the Secretary shall, subject to the availability of 
     funds, enter into cooperative arrangements with State and 
     local governments, educational institutions, local historical 
     organizations, communities, and other appropriate entities to 
     preserve and interpret key sites in the peopling of America.
       (3) Educational initiatives.--
       (A) In general.--The documentation in the theme study shall 
     be used for broad educational initiatives such as--
       (i) popular publications;
       (ii) curriculum material such as the Teaching with Historic 
     Places program;
       (iii) heritage tourism products such as the National 
     Register of Historic Places Travel Itineraries program; and
       (iv) oral history and ethnographic programs.
       (B) Cooperative programs.--On the basis of the theme study, 
     the Secretary shall implement cooperative programs to 
     encourage the preservation and interpretation of the peopling 
     of America.

     SEC. 5. COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS.

       The Secretary may enter into cooperative agreements with 
     educational institutions, professional associations, or other 
     entities knowledgeable about the peopling of America--
       (1) to prepare the theme study;
       (2) to ensure that the theme study is prepared in 
     accordance with generally accepted scholarly standards; and
       (3) to promote cooperative arrangements and programs 
     relating to the peopling of America.

     SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

       There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are 
     necessary to carry out this Act.
                                 ______
                                 


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