Acoma Pueblo Governor Kury Riley speaking Tuesday at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
Published May 24, 2016
WASHINGTON – Native American cultural items, many considered very sacred, are going up for auction in Paris, France next week. In an effort to stop the auction the National Museum of the American Indian held a meeting at the museum to discuss what efforts are being done to stop the event.
Congressman Steve Pearce (New Mexico) introduced the Protection of the Right of Tribes to Stop the Export of Cultural and Traditional Patrimony (PROTECT Patrimony) Resolution. Congressman Pearce stated that they have many helping them to get the resolution passed.
“When we find culturally sensitive items are being auctioned for sale, we ask why? What our office did was prepare this resolution, which says you should not be trafficking tribal and cultural sensitive items. The French are having an auction on March the 30th and have not been very responsive to our requests.”
Acoma Pueblo Governor Kurt Riley gave an emotional speech on what the items mean to his tribe and why they shouldn’t be sold.
“We are appealing to the people of France and to the French authorities to honor our humanity and to the value of our ancient traditional beliefs by stopping this sale and returning this item. I just wanted to thank you for me giving this opportunity to speak on behalf of my people, as you can tell, when these items leave our pueblo this is how much it hurts. For a person in my position to speak and express my emotion this way, this is how much it hurts when we see these cultural items put on the Internet and put up for sale.”
Lawrence Roberts Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs went on to say, “Many tribes are coming to get help in international repatriation, we stand with the Acoma Pueblo to stop the Eve auction house to stop the sale, we stand with all the tribes asking to stop it. We look forward to working with the Congress on this issue; this is a problem that has gone on far to long. “
Rhonda LeValdo is a tribal member of the Acoma Pueblo and sits on the Unity Journalists for Diversity Board of Directors.