Published October 13, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE — On Tuesday, October 18 at 10 a.m., U.S. Senator Tom Udall will lead an oversight field hearing with Senator Martin Heinrich at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on legislation to stop the theft, illegal possession, sale, transfer and export of Tribal cultural items.
Senators Udall and Heinrich are leading legislation that would increase penalties and raise awareness of illegal trafficking of Tribal cultural items. Udall introduced the Protection of the Right of Tribes to stop the Export of Cultural and Traditional (PROTECT) Patrimony Resolution with Heinrich, which condemns the theft, illegal possession or sale, transfer and export of Tribal cultural items and calls for several measures to be implemented to help identify illegal handling of these items and ensure they are returned to the rightful Native American owners. Heinrich introduced with Udall the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, which will prohibit exportation and enhance protections of Native American cultural items and establish a group of Tribal members dedicated to preventing future mishandling of cultural items. 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 issue was brought into the spotlight when a ceremonial shield from the Pueblo of Acoma was found for sale on a Paris auction house website earlier this year.
Witnesses will include:
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
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