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Senate Committee on Indian Affairs takes up sale of tribal property at field hearing






The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is hosting a field hearing next week to address the sale of tribal cultural property.

The hearing takes place October 18 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tribal leaders, federal officials and experts will discuss ways to prevent sacred items from being trafficked in the U.S. and abroad.

"New Mexico is home to 23 tribes whose cultural heritage is harmed by the theft of sacred and culturally significant objects, and the illegal trafficking of sacred and cultural items is an issue for tribes throughout Indian Country," the office of Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), who will be chairing the hearing, said on Wednesday.

Udall is sponsoring S.Con.Res.49, otherwise known as the PROTECT Patrimony Resolution. It calls on the federal government to work more closely with tribes to stop the theft, sale and export of tribal items and to return them to their rightful owners.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved the measure on September 7. On September 29, it cleared the Senate, although in a modified form as H.Con.Res.122.

Since the measure was changed after passage in the House on September 12, Congress would need to take additional action before it can be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Next week's hearing will be hosted by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The witness list follows:
Panel I:
Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

Tracy Toulou, Director, Office of Tribal Justice, U.S. Department of Justice

Mark Taplin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Waldemar Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, El Paso U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Panel II:
The Honorable Kurt Riley, Governor, Pueblo of Acoma

The Honorable E. Paul Torres, Governor, Pueblo of Isleta, All Pueblo Council of Governors

The Honorable Russell Begaye, President, Navajo Nation

Gregory Schaaf, Historian, Retired Professor of Native American Studies, University of California

Honor Keeler, Director of International Repatriation Project, Association on American Indian Affairs

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Oversight FIELD Hearing on "The Theft, Illegal Possession, Sale, Transfer and Export of Tribal Cultural Items." (October 18, 2016)

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