A bill aimed a stopping the sale of tribal cultural property cleared the House on Wednesday evening.
the PROTECT 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.
"The U.S. government was not always gracious in dealing with Native American tribes," Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New
Mexico), the sponsor of H.Con.Res.122, said during consideration of his measure. "And so the least that we can do is help them
reestablish that culture that lets them tell the children who are
coming up about who they were, where they came from, and the things that are significant to them."
Pearce has been working closely with tribes to help them recover their property. He said some have been forced to buy sacred and spiritual items from auction houses overseas, recounting one instance in which a tribe went to France to reclaim an important part of its heritage.
"They bought a first-class ticket for it. It was so significant that
they did not want to let it travel as cargo in the hold of the
airplane," Pearce said.
An aerial view
of Sky City, a village at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Photo by Marshall