An Act to Protect Native American Heritage

Move our bills out of committee before the deadline!

Go to the Action Network link to support five Massachusetts Indigenous-centered bills by sending this automated letter to legislators asking that bills be reported favorably out of committee.

The 2021-2022 Indigenous Legislative Agenda includes 5 priorities: Remove Racist Mascots, Honor Indigenous People’s Day, Celebrate and Teach Native American Culture & History, Protect Native American Heritage, and Support the Education and Futures of Native Youth.

An Act to protect Native American Heritage: Segment from the 1/11/22 MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda Teach-In

Blackfoot Beaded and Painted Antelope Hide Shirt, c. 1870

Bill Name: “An Act to Protect Native American Heritage”

House Numbers: H.3377, H.3385

Senate Number: S.2239, S.2240

Bill Description: This would ensure that Native American funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony (those of cultural, traditional or historical importance to their heritage) held in governmental, municipal or non-profit collections are not sold for profit.  Law enforcement efforts to preserve heritage and to deter trafficking of these objects currently rely on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA).  NAGPRA currently only applies to publicly funded entities that receive federal funding.  “Tribal cultural heritage belongs to the tribal community of its origin as a whole.  And by tribal custom, cannot be alienated from that community by any individual or group without the expressed free, prior, and informed consent of that tribe.”  Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), testifying before the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2016.