Mounds Initiative Letter to Biden

HeartLands Conservancy applauds Senator Richard Durbin (IL) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL). On November 30, 2021, the Senators sent a co-signed letter to the White House urging President Biden to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to incorporate the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site under the National Park System and offer additional protections for the ancient mounds in St. Clair and Madison counties. In their letter, the Senators call back to Durbin’s 2014 request for the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a reconnaissance study to determine if the site meets requirements to be a unit of the National Park System. The study, which concluded in 2016, found that Cahokia Mounds met all four of the criteria – significance, suitability, feasibility, and need for NPS management.

“We write to encourage you to use your authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site as a unit of the National Park System. We support elevating, protecting, and sharing this important archeological and cultural resource that represents the people and landscapes that once made up one of America’s first cities in the Western Hemisphere.”

– Senator Richard Durbin (IL) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL)

This letter joins the 2021 legislation introduced by Rep. Bost (IL), Rep. Cori Bush (MO), and Senator Durbin to elevate Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and several surrounding mound sites as a unit of the National Park System. This legislation uses a partnership-park model with the State of Illinois and National Park Service and further seeks to provide access to Indigenous people for spiritual practices and expressions.

We would like to thank the Senators and Representatives for their leadership and persistence in ensuring Cahokia Mounds and the Mississippian Culture receive the national recognition this sacred landscape deserves. We thank the First Nations for support and guidance over the past decade, as well as the thousands of individuals, organizations, and communities who have supported this effort.

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