WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 18, 2019) - U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) issued the following statement on the sacred ceremonial shield that will be returned to the Pueblo of Acoma following a settlement agreement in U.S. District Court.
Heinrich and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the bipartisan Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, a bill to prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony.
“The Pueblo of Acoma has waited decades for this shield to come home. Ever since the Pueblo discovered this sacred ceremonial item had been stolen and was up for auction in Paris, I have worked with Governors Riley and Vallo to call for its return. My bipartisan legislation, the STOP Act, would prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items like the Acoma shield. No matter where they are, all sacred and culturally significant items must be returned to their rightful home,” said Heinrich.
Senator Heinrich originally introduced the STOP Act in 2016. The bill was marked up and passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2018. The STOP Act has widespread, bipartisan support and continues to demonstrate growing momentum. The bill has been endorsed by organizations and tribes across Indian Country.