U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has introduced legislation aimed at including two Mississippi landmarks in the footprint of the Natchez National Historical Park.
Hyde-Smith released the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Jefferson College Affiliated Areas Establishment Act on Tuesday, with the bill focusing on elevating the standing of the two sites within the National Park Service (NPS).
If approved, the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Jefferson College would then become eligible for preservation, protection, and interpretation resources as affiliate areas of the Natchez National Historical Park.
The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark, interprets the story of the Natchez people and their ancestors who inhabited what is now southwest Mississippi from around 700-1730.
Founded in 1802, Jefferson College is the birthplace of Mississippi’s statehood, the state’s first institution of higher learning, and served as a Freedmen’s Bureau site after the Civil War. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The residents of Natchez and Adams County in recent years have embarked on saving and showcasing broad aspects of their meaningful and diverse heritage, which spans centuries and is central to Mississippi’s history,” Hyde-Smith said. “With this bill, we have an opportunity to assist in that effort by granting affiliated area designations to Grand Village and Jefferson College.”
The legislation would also direct the NPS to set the boundaries of the affiliated areas and develop a management plan for each within three years.
The bill does not allow the NPS to acquire property in the affiliate areas or to assume responsibility for their operation, maintenance, or management.
The NPS is currently undergoing a process to determine if the locations “preserve significant properties outside the National Park System…[and that] draw on technical or financial aid from the National Park Service.”