Save Alabama's Cultural Heritage!
  • Petitioned Alabama State Senate

This petition was delivered to:

Alabama State Senate

Save Alabama's Cultural Heritage!

    1. Bill Whitman
    2. Petition by

      Bill Whitman

      Prattville, AL

The House has voted to give away Alabama's Heritage and still pending is  Senate Bill 81, the "Finders Keepers" law.  Combined these are setting up the biggest looting of Selma since Wilson's Raid in April 1865.

If passed, these bills will make it possible for anyone from anywhere to remove artifacts from state waters. Alabama will be the only state in the U.S. with no protection for its underwater cultural resources. Relic collectors from around the country are already buzzing with anticipation and calling in their support for these bills. With over 77,000 miles of navigable state waterways, we stand to lose a tremendous amount of our heritage. Sites that will be affected include Native American sites, towns, fords, landings, the Selma Arsenal site, and many other isolated artifacts. (The bills make special provision for protection of shipwrecks and "burial" sites, but this naively excludes most of what is below our waters and assumes that divers will know what type of site they are on.)  This is NOT about diver's rights, this is about relic hunting pure and simple, looting, plundering in other words.  It has NOTHING to do with diving or divers who respect history and bringing to light what was lost for the benefit of all.

Behind these Bills (which failed last year) are, for example, a small group who want to dig up the remains of the Selma Arsenal that was dumped into the Alabama River to keep it from the Union Soldiers. These private collectors want to loot the waterways for their own personal collections and keep relics from public view and study in Alabama's museums and heritage collections, they want to keep Alabama's property from the Citizens of Alabama! Selma's Aresenal is an important Confederate battlefield, but they want it for themselves.

Please tell Alabama's Senators they can still be the voice of reason and vote NO on this bill. Don't change the law to allow private collectors in this State and from the Nation to loot Alabama waterways.  Preserve Alabama's heritage for Alabama's citizens! 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. The House narrowly voted to pass the bill, help by pressuring the Senate!

      Bill Whitman
      Petition Organizer

      Last week the House passed the Bill with 49 votes in favor but with a lot of No votes and a huge number of abstentions which combined would have defeated the bill. This shows that our actions did work to get the attention of Legislators but now the effort shifts to the more moderate and thoughtful Senate.
      We have gotten over 500 signatures but I need to ask you all again to resend and resign a new petition targeted at the Senate. The same 500 signatures targeted again to the limited number of Senators will have a double impact! I will be closing this petition and have started another Petition to just the Senators. Please look at that and take action! Thank you! Bill

    2. Reached 500 signatures
    3. We exceeded the goal of 300 signatures! Time for the defeat!

      Bill Whitman
      Petition Organizer

      Now is the time for the push to end these measures this year. The key this year will be in the House Rules Committee where the procedural measures will be the decisive way to keep the House Bill from coming to the floor for any vote. The Senate will be more moderate in realizing that once again this is about one man's vendetta to get his hands on the Selma Arsenal, but the House Rules Committee needs to be persuaded to stop this measure NOW.

      So, in a short while I'll send a link to a document with the members of the House Rules Committee's contact information. Those of you who can please take the next step & send a short email or make a phone call to the members, one or all, it's up to you to decide yo

    4. Reached 300 signatures
    5. 258 signatures reached! You all are fantastic!

      Bill Whitman
      Petition Organizer

      Wow, the response is tremendous in just two days. 258 concerned people signed this petition and let their voices be heard for preservation and responsible recovery of artifacts in the waterways of this State. In the week to come as the legislators open their email and read your emails they will hear OUR concerns, yours, mine and the voices of the people who are truly concerned about preserving artifacts for all not just the ones pushing these bills for their own interests. If you would like to do more, call you legislators personally and let them know what you think. The bills are in the House Rules Committee and Senate Committee on Natural Energy and Resources respectively. The Senate committee link is attached. But your signing is enough. Sharing is really all more you can do and PLEASE share!

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. Nearly 200 signatures in one day. Thank you and let's keep up the pressure.

      Bill Whitman
      Petition Organizer

      24 hours into the petition drive and nearly 200 supporters of this effort have responded to the call to protect our cultural resources. House Bill 54, which just passed the Health Committee and is now before the Rules Committee, and Senate Bill 81, which is before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, will be stifled by your voices to the greater mass of the Legislature. Thank you for taking the time to respond to the Petition drive but keep spreading the word! We all know how effective social media and the efforts of the people are when it comes to having our voices heard. Share by email, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls the message to your family, friends here and across the country to have your voice heard.

      Thank you for your support!

    8. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Alina Coryell TUSCALOOSA, AL
      • about 2 years ago

      I think some Americans need to understand the concept of public property- it means it is not yours to sell.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dave Port SNELLVILLE, GA
      • about 2 years ago

      1. HB54 does this by attacking and changing the core definition of Alabama's "cultural resources". Under HB54's new definition, only “Shipwrecks” and “Native American Burial Sites" can ever be considered Alabama underwater "cultural resources". This extremely narrow definition will result in the intentional removal of ALL current protections from ALL other archaeological sites that reside within our state waterways, including Civil War sites; French/Spanish/Colonial forts; historic towns and cemeteries; prehistoric Native American shell middens, villages, and ceremonial mounds; historic Native American villages, and others.

      2. The supporters of HB54 are a small group of relic sellers and collectors with strong political connections who make money selling valuable artifacts. Currently, the sites in Alabama with the highest concentration of these valuable relics are state historic sites, which are protected by state laws. HB54 will remove the protection of these laws and allow the open, unregulated and undocumented digging and removal of valuable artifacts from Alabama's Civil War sites (such Fort Morgan, Blakeley and the Selma Arsenal), Colonial sites, Native American sites etc. Artifacts recovered from these sites are very valuable and can sell for thousands of dollars.

      3. No other state in the U.S. allows the open, unregulated, digging, destruction and pillaging of its state historic sites. If HB54 passes, Alabama will stand alone in allowing the destruction of its state historic sites to financially benefit a few relic sellers and collectors.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Shane Bernard, Ph.D. NEW IBERIA, LA
      • about 2 years ago

      As a professional historian I oppose the excavation of historical artifacts by treasure hunters; excavations should be handled by professional archaeologists.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Donna Baker TUSCALOOSA, AL
      • about 2 years ago

      Historic and prehistoric artifacts that have been underwater for ages are safest remaining underwater until experts can retrieve them properly--controlling the elements and logging the context. The context from which an artifact is retrieved is critical to understanding what it can teach about our predecessors. If our legislature passes this bill, its members are authorizing the destruction of vital clues to our past. Our descendents will marvel at the utter stupidity of such a move. And the record of this stupidity will not be hidden in river beds, slowly wearing away; their names will be indelibly inscribed on it--accessible from any computer--from that day forward.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gail King STERRETT, AL
      • about 2 years ago

      I have a master's degree from the University of Alabama in anthropology and archaeology and from the professors there, I learned that once an archaeological site is destroyed a part of history is gone forever. I also have Cherokee and Creek ancestry and feel that the proposed law will greatly impact Native American sites. There are currently hundreds of sites underwater due to water impoundment when the dams were built for hydroelectric power.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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