Native leaders, officials to discuss protection of sacred items

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Those in favor of a proposal to stop the sale of sacred Native American items are speaking out.

They’re weighing in on a new bill that would outlaw exporting those items and impose stiffer penalties for those caught stealing and trafficking such goods.

Tribal leaders say this is about preserving a people.

It’s called the STOP Act — an acronym for “Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony.” The act is meant to protect inherited items Natives say are vital to perpetuating their culture.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich introduced the STOP Act in July. It came not long after an Acoma War Shield came up at an auction in Paris.

The piece was later withdrawn from the auctioneer’s catalog, but the U.S. is still working to get it back. Officials say someone stole the shield from a home in Acoma.

More recently, both senators Heinrich and Udall proposed a resolution along with an Arizona rep to further protect Native artifacts. That’s the Protection of the rights of tribes to stop the export of cultural and traditional patrimony resolution.

On Friday, Native leaders and Santa Fe’s mayor are set to say their part about STOP and caution the sale of these sacred inherited items at Santa Fe art and antique shows.

That meeting is in the Meem Auditorium at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. It’s set for 9:30 a.m. but organizers are encouraging people to arrive around 9 a.m.

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