“The Department of Justice’s request to retrieve this sacred shield is welcome news, and I will work to ensure it’s brought back to the Pueblo of Acoma where it belongs,” Heinrich said. “It’s critical that we prevent the illegal trafficking of protected Native artifacts, which is why I am working to pass the STOP Act. This legislation will increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony. And it will prohibit exporting these objects and create a tribal working group to help federal agencies better understand the scope of the problem and how to solve it. The United States must do everything in its power to ensure that priceless Native American cultural artifacts are returned to their rightful homes instead of being sold off to the highest bidder.”
Senator Heinrich was joined by tribal leaders earlier this month at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, N.M. to discuss the details of the STOP Act and highlight the urgent need to stop the theft and sale of priceless Native religious and cultural items in international markets.