NCAI Action Alert! Support STOP Act of 2017!

Show Your Support for the  Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act of 2017

On November 8 at 2:30 (EDT), the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing to receive testimony on the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act of 2017 (S. 1400). This legislation has broad support from Indian Country and NCAI is asking Tribes to submit their support for this legislation and become part of the hearing record.

The STOP Act would strengthen existing federal statutes protecting Native American cultural heritage with an emphasis on facilitating the return of protected items exported and trafficked abroad. Specifically, the STOP Act increases penalties for violations of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and provides an explicit prohibition on exporting items obtained in violation of NAGPRA, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), or the Antiquities Act. The legislation does not extend the reach of these three laws to tribal cultural heritage that is not already protected, and thus it does not criminalize any currently legal domestic activity. Instead, it increases the deterrent effect of current law by imposing heightened penalties and provides that traffickers may not export their contraband. Additionally, the STOP Act creates a structure for federal facilitation of the voluntary return of tribal cultural heritage and engages tribes through a working group to provide input on implementation.

NCAI has two resolutions which align with the intent of the STOP Act and call upon the United States government to address international repatriation and take affirmative actions to stop the theft and illegal sale of tribal cultural items both domestically and abroad (SAC-12-008 and SD-15-075). You can find NCAI’s letter of support here.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding a legislative hearing on the STOP Act on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. There is strong bi-partisan support in Congress for the STOP Act but opposition from some antiquities dealers and collectors, who are mobilizing on the Hill, threatens the bill’s progress. This hearing is a critical opportunity for Indian Country to provide their positions on the record about the importance of protecting tribal cultural heritage.

We are asking tribes and tribal organizations to support the STOP Act before this important hearing. You can show support by:

  1. Sending a letter to Committee members expressing support for the bill, with your senators copied. You can find a template letter of support here. Testimony can be sent here. To ensure NCAI can track tribal support, please CC mgivens@ncai.org when you submit); and
  2. Calling or meeting with Committee staff and your senator, especially if he or she is a member of the Committee, expressing your support for the bill.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Members

John Hoeven, Chairman (ND) Tom Udall, Vice Chairman (NM)
(202) 224-2551 (202) 224-6621
John McCain (AZ) Lisa Murkowski (AK)
(202) 224-2235 (202) 224-6665
James Lankford (OK) Steve Daines (MT)
(202) 224-5754 (202) 224-2651
Michael Crapo (ID) Jerry Moran (KS)
(202) 224-6142 (202) 224-6521
John Barrasso (WY) Jon Tester (MT)
(202) 224-6441 (202) 224-2644
Al Franken (MN) Brian Schatz (HI)
(202) 224-5641 (202) 224-3934
Heidi Heitkamp (ND) Catherine Cortez Masto (NV)
(202) 224-2043 (202) 224-3542

NCAI Contact Info: Denise Desiderio, Policy Director, ddesiderio@ncai.org

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