Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service

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The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) was an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which subsumed its functions from the National Park Service and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.[1] It was created by the Carter administration in 1977. Under the Reagan administration the National Park Service absorbed the HCRS in 1981.[1]

During its brief tenure, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service was allegedly consistently short of money and other resources and was never granted a leading role that its proponents advocated. During this agency's existence, however, a number of publications and research on historic preservation issues were completed.

Within the HCRS was a "Policy on Disposition of Human Remains" that was a standard for federal agencies within the Department of the Interior interested in studying bones and handling human remains.[2]

The policy was an early attempt at relieving tensions between Native Americans and the U.S. government. The HCRS called for the reburial of all remains that were in deliberate burials whose direct relation to modern relatives could be proven. Before the reburial, however, the U.S. government was permitted to study and document the remains.


  1. ^ a b National Park Service. "National Park Service History Collection RG 37". Retrieved September 2, 2008. 
  2. ^ Smith, Claire. "Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonising Theory and Practice". Google Books. Retrieved 21 February 2014.