May 27, 2021

Heinrich, Murkowski Bill to Safeguard Tribal Items Gains Momentum in Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

WASHINGTON (May 27, 2021) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Vice Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were excited to see their bipartisan Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act be favorably reported from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs during a business meeting on Wednesday. In the 116th Congress, Senators Heinrich and Murkowski successfullypassed the STOP Act out of the Senate by unanimous consent. 

Senators Heinrich and Murkowski reintroduced the legislation that prohibits the exporting of sacred Native American items and increases penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking Tribal cultural patrimony earlier this year.

“For years, I’ve been proud to work with New Mexico’s Pueblos, the Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache Nations, the Navajo Nation, and Tribes across Indian Country to halt the trade of culturally significant items and repatriate stolen pieces to their rightful owners,” said Heinrich. “After years of building up Tribal and bipartisan support, I am confident that the STOP Act is nearing the finish line and look forward to this continued momentum.”

“Alaska Natives and American Indians experience loss of their sacred objects through illegal exportation and overseas auctions with no recourse to repatriate these items in the United States. These tribal cultural heritage items are vital to protecting the culture and history of Native people. I reintroduced the STOP Act with Senator Heinrich to prevent individuals from exporting sacred objects without the consent of tribal communities. Today’s passage out of Committee is another important step for this legislation and I will continue to co-lead this bipartisan effort toward passage in the Senate and the House,” said Murkowski.

For more information on the STOP Act click here. To read the full text of the bill click here.