The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO)
was created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.
Under the Act, the ASHPO has five major program areas as follows:
I. Review and Compliance
II. Survey and Inventory
III. National Register of Historic Places
V. Technical Assistance
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is responsible for advising and assisting Federal Agencies with their efforts to comply with National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA). In addition to establishing Historic Preservation Offices in all of the United States and its Territories, the NHPA has various sections designed to offer some measure of protection to historic properties from Federally funded, permitted, or assisted projects. The most prominent of these is Section 106 which states that, "The head of any Federal agency having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed Federal or Federally assisted undertaking in any State and the head of any Federal department or independent agency having authority to license any undertaking shall, prior to the approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the undertaking or prior to the issuance of any license, as the case may be, take into account the effect of the undertaking on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register. The head of any such Federal agency shall afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation established under Title II of this Act a reasonable opportunity to comment with regard to such an undertaking."
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office reflects the interests of the Territory and its citizens in advising and assisting the Federal Agencies with their Section 106 responsibilities.
A process referred to as the Section 106 process establishes guidelines for how Federal Agencies can meet the requirements of Section 106. The guidelines can be found in a set of regulations published in the Federal Register on May 18, 1999 by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation entitled 36 CFR Part 800 Protection of Historic Properties; Recommended Approach for Consultation on Recovery of Significant Information From Archaeological Sites; Final Rule and Notice.
Briefly during this process the Federal Agency is responsible for,
1. Initiating the Section 106 process,
2. Identifying Historic Properties within an undertaking's area of potential effect,
3. Assessing Adverse Effects on Historic Properties within the area of potential effect and,
4. Resolving Adverse Effects on such properties through consultation and development of a Memorandum of Agreement.
During this process the Federal Agency consults with the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office on the best way to take into account historic properties for any given Federal project or undertaking. The Historic Preservation Office's responsibilities include,
1. Offering advice on the best ways to identify potential historic properties within an area of potential effect of an undertaking,
2. Reviewing archaeological and historic property reports and plans which document identification, evaluation, and data recovery efforts sponsored by the Federal Agency,
3. Commenting on determinations made by Federal Agencies and,
4. Negotiating Memorandums of Agreement designed to mitigate adverse effects on historic properties.
Correspondence and reports produced during this process are stored at the Historic Preservation Office and are a matter of public record (though the Act allows for the restriction of information concerning sensitive archaeological sites when necessary). The regulations encourage Federal Agencies to involve the public in each step of the process.
For details on the Section 106 process and a copy of the 36 CFR Part 800 regulations we recommend that one visit the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Web site [http://www.achp.gov]
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, in cooperation with Federal and State agencies, local governments, and private organizations, is responsible for directing and conducting a comprehensive statewide survey of historic properties and maintaining an inventory of such properties.
Pursuant to this program area the ASHPO maintains a computerized database and hard copy site forms of known archaeological and historic sites in the Territory. Site numbers for all archaeological and historic sites are assigned by the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office. There are currently 586 known historic and archaeological sites in American Samoa.
In order to efficiently identify historic and archaeological sites in the entire Territory the historic preservation office has produced a survey plan for the Territory. Following the guidelines set out in the plan the ASHPO has entered into a cooperative agreement with the American Samoa Power Authority and the US Environmental Protection Agency to support American Samoa Historic Preservation Office identification surveys. Based on that cooperative arrangement the ASHPO has conducted a series of successful annual surveys in the Territory with graduate student volunteers since 1996. Areas surveyed are high development areas where sewer lines and other ground disturbing activities are anticipated.
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is responsible for nominating and assisting the public to nominate historic properties in American Samoa to the National Register of Historic Places.
There are currently 14 historic properties and 1 historic district in American Samoa listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently all the sites listed on the Register have been nominated by the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, though we anticipate private nominations to be forthcoming soon. The office is currently working on nominating three sites to the register; two prehistoric quarries (one above the village of Tula and the other above the village of Alofau) and a set of two W.W.II six inch guns at Breakers Point.
For a list of sites in American Samoa on the National Register click here. To reach the official National Register of Historic Places Web site click here http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/index.html
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is responsible for writing a five year comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan. The current five year plan is available upon request. An overview of the plan can be found at the National Park Service's web site at, http://www2.cr.nps.gov/pad/stateplans/samoa.htm
The public is invited to provide comments and suggestions for our next five year plan. All suggestions will be read and duly considered.
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is responsible for providing public information, education and training, technical assistance, in historic preservation to individuals, groups, and/or Federal and State government agencies. ASHPO activities in this area include,
1. Providing individuals historic preservation information either locally or via the World Wide Web and electronic mail,
2. Giving talks about and tours of historic sites to local school children, and other interested groups,
3. Facilitating historic preservation training such as a recently completed workshop on the maintenance of historic buildings given by Mr. David Look of the National Park Service to the local Department of Public Works and other interested parties, and,
4. Providing Federal Agencies with technical advice concerning historic preservation law, historic resources and their treatment.
For National Park Service sponsored programs that offer various types of information and technical assistance concerning cultural and historic resources go to http://www.cr.nps.gov/whatwedo.htm .
For technical assistance on rehabilitating a historic building a good place to start is the National Park Service's "interactive Web Class on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation" at http://www2.cr.nps.gov/e-rehab/ .
For National Park Service publications concerning various aspects of cultural and historic resources go to http://www.cr.nps.gov/.