Bill to protect tribal cultural property gains steam on Capitol Hill
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
More on: 114th, h.con.res.122, house, s.con.res.49, senate, steve pearce, tom udall
shield stolen from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico is the subject of a legal and
diplomatic battle after it was put up for sale by a private auction house in
France. Image from EVE Auction House
Efforts to protect tribal cultural property are moving forward on Capitol Hill.
The House is set to consider H.Con.Res.122,
the PROTECT Patrimony Resolution, this week. According to the House Majority Leader's schedule, the measure will be considered under a suspension of the rules, a process reserved for non-controversial bills that are expected to pass with near-unanimous support.
"This is really a very large effort ... to simply say we can do better in the
world and do better in this country," Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New
Mexico), the sponsor of H.Con.Res.122, said in May.
The Protection of the Right of Tribes to Stop the Export of Cultural and Traditional Patrimony Resolution condemns the sale, transfer and export of tribal property. It calls on the federal government to work with tribes and spiritual leaders to come up with ways to stop the practice and repatriate items back to their rightful owners.
A companion measure, S.Con.Res.49, is also moving forward in the Senate. It was approved by the Senate Committee on Indian
Affairs on September 7.
"These items are not pieces of art -- they are sacred objects, deeply important
for tribal identity and we need to put a stop to the trafficking of these
objects," Sen. Tom Udall (D-New
Mexico), the sponsor of S.Con.Res.49, said at the business meeting.
The legislative efforts are being discussed at the Indigenous
International Repatriation Conference, hosted by the Association on American
Indian Affairs, next week.
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