The U.S. Senate has passed two measures sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): one to crack down on the illegal trafficking of Native American artifacts and the other to complete construction of the Miner Flat Dam for the White Mountain Apache tribe.
The first measure, Protection of the Rights of Tribes to stop the Export of Cultural and Traditional (PROTECT) Patrimony Resolution expresses Congress' condemnation of the theft, illegal possession and sale transfer or export of Native American cultural items. It also calls for the administration to implement measures to help stop the illegal trafficking of tribal cultural patrimony and return exported items to the rightful Native American owners.
“I’m proud the Senate passed our resolution supporting efforts to stop the illegal trafficking of sacred Native American artifacts,” McCain said. “Year after year, these artifacts, which have deep historical and cultural significance for Native American tribes, are transported and auctioned off overseas. Congress must impose stiffer penalties to stop this illegal practice, and I’ll continue working to pass legislation that would prevent these sacred items from being lost forever.”
McCain is also a cosponsor of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, which would increase federal penalties for exporting sensitive tribal cultural items.
The second bill amends the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010, which is critical to enable the tribe and the U.S. Department of Interior to construct the Miner Flat Dam on the North Fork of the White River, located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.