From our colleagues at the Society for American Archaeology:
The sale of illicitly-procured objects of Native American cultural heritage in overseas auction houses remains a major problem. Numerous auctions of such items are held overseas, and foreign governments are often unwilling to step in, citing the lack of a U.S. law that specifically prohibits the export of looted tribal objects.
Congress can fix this now. Bipartisan legislation, the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act (STOP Act) (H.R. 2930), would create an explicit prohibition on the export of items obtained in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) or the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). This measure will make it possible for Native American tribes to access other countries' law enforcement mechanisms to regain their stolen property.
The STOP Act passed the House last year. Now we need the Senate to follow suit. Because time is short, we need the Senate Armed Services Committee to add the STOP Act to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate will take up in the next few days. Please take a few minutes today and use our Take Action portal to send a letter to your senator, who sits on the Armed Services Committee or is in the leadership, and urge them to support the STOP Act as an amendment to the NDAA.