Acoma Praises Issuance of Federal Warrant Encourages France to Comply & Assist Return of Ceremonial Shield

Conroy Chino, left, the traditional leader of the Acoma Pueblo, joined tribal Gov. Kurt Riley.

Conroy Chino, left, the traditional leader of the Acoma Pueblo, joined tribal Gov. Kurt Riley at Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in May 2016.

Published September 2, 2016

ACOMA, NEW MEXICO — The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico has issued a warrant for the seizure of the Acoma Ceremonial Shield held in Paris, France. Pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, the United States will be requesting that the French government serve the warrant and seize the Shield. The time frame for this situation rests now in the hands of the French government and their willingness to comply with the warrant.

Governor Kurt Riley applauds the action: “This fight has again reached another defining point, I am proud to tell our community and our past tribal officials, who for many years fought this good fight with too little support. The grant of this warrant powerfully demonstrates the commitment of the United States to protecting tribal cultural patrimony. Today we have been heard; it is a small victory for my people, but a victory that will set the precedent for our brothers and sister tribes to follow, as they fight their own fights.”

“There are many ways that cultural property can come home. The legal process is one path, but we welcome opportunities to discuss with those who hold our cultural property how, in a voluntary and positive manner, these items can be returned,” Governor Riley added,

The Pueblo has been involved with this case for the last two years and has gained support from Tribal, State, and Congressional leaders in Washington D.C., as well as the public at large. Currently the Shield is still in the possession of the Eve Auction House in Paris, France.

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