Review & Compliance

Written by ASHPO

The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office was established in response to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA). The NHPA contains a section known as "Section 106" that is designed to protect historic properties (historic buildings, historic and archaeological sites, as well as historic structures and objects) from being damaged or destroyed by projects funded by the federal government.

Section 106 states,

"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 undertaking."

(* In the NHPA for the purpose of the Act, including Section 106, Congress defined American Samoa as a "State.")

Section 106 itself is relatively brief, but in order to implement it a set of regulation "Protection of Historic Properties" (36-CFR-800), which are rather complex, have been produced by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.  Interested readers can download the regulations by following this link:

A overview of the "Section 106 Process" that the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office assists federal agencies to comply with follows:


Initiate Section 106 Process
Establish undertaking
Identify appropriate SHPO/THPO *
Plan to involve the public
Identify other consulting parties

No undertaking/no potential to cause effects

Undertaking is type that might affect historic properties

Identify Historic Properties
Determine scope of efforts
Identify historic properties
Evaluate historic significance

No historic properties affected

Historic properties are affected

Assess Adverse Effects
Apply criteria of adverse effect

No historic properties adversely affected

Historic properties are adversely affected

Resolve Adverse Effects
Continue consultation

Memorandum of Agreement



A detailed Section 106 guide can be found at this website:

Throughout the Section 106 Process the federal agencies correspond and consult with the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office.

The ASHPO's role is to assist the federal agency with their Section 106 Process compliance responsibilities. During the Section 106 Process the federal agency requests the ASHPO's review and concurrence on its efforts to comply with Section 106. The federal agency notifies the ASHPO in writing of the planned initiation of an undertaking, and, as necessary, historic property determinations, affect determinations, and notification of the need to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement to resolve or "mitigate" adverse effects to historic properties. As per Section 106, if a federally funded, licensed or otherwise federally approved undertaking has an adverse effect on historic properties the federal agency involved must also notify the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation seeking their comment.

Identification of historic properties and the assessment of effects on historic properties often involves historic preservation specialists such as archaeologists or historians who conduct historic property identification surveys and write reports making recommendations concerning historic property determinations and affect determinations on behalf of the federal agency. The archaeological and historic survey reports produced are used by the federal agency to document historic properties determinations and affect determinations that the federal agency is responsible for making.

It is the ASHPO's role to review the archaeological and historic survey reports to ensure they meet professional standards.  In order to assist the federal agencies and their historic preservation specialists the ASHPO has produced a set of report guidelines that are used in the report review process. Click on the following link to download the ASHPO Report Guidelines.

Finally, throughout the Section 106 process the general public can comment to the federal agency about any concerns they have concerning an undertaking and its potential effect on historic properties.  In particular, if the undertaking has an adverse effect on historic properties the federal agency must make a good faith effort to notify the public of the adverse effect on historic properties and seek their views.
The ASHPO has posted many of the reports produced by archaeologists related to undertakings that have taken place in the territory on the our download library page. They are made available to assist and inform historic preservation specialists, federal agencies, researchers, and the general public.


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Download this file (ASHPOReportGuide.pdf)ASHPOReportGuide.pdf    152 Kb