Vilsack Joins Effort to Protect Sacred Sites

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and three other cabinet members recently signed a memorandum pledging to protect Indian sacred sites.

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding was agreed upon by the Defense Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Energy. It would require participating agencies to set up internal measures to protect sacred sites. It would also require consultation with local tribes and would help train federal employees as to the legal protections relating to sacred sites.

“The President is insistent that these Sacred Sites be protected and preserved: treated with dignity and respect. That is also my commitment as Secretary of USDA,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I know my fellow Secretaries share in this commitment. We understand the importance of these sites and will do our best to make sure they are protected and respected.”

“American Indian service members are fighting to protect America on distant battlefields,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “I’m pleased this new agreement will help protect Indian sacred sites here at home.”

“Protecting America’s air and water and our nation’s heritage is an important part of the Energy Department’s commitment to Tribal Nations across the country, particularly those that are neighbors to the Department’s National Laboratories, sites and facilities,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “I look forward to continuing this important work and collaborating with other federal agencies and Tribal Nations to protect Indian sacred sites throughout the United States.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer