An Act to Protect Native American Heritage

Please help us to get more MA state reps and senators to co-sponsor our 5 Indigenous-centered bills that have just been re-filed in the MA legislature for the 2023-2024 session. The 2023-2024 Indigenous Legislative Agenda includes 5 priorities: Remove Racist Mascots, Honor Indigenous People’s Day, Celebrate and Teach Native American Cultures & History, Protect Native American Heritage, and Support the Education and Futures of Native Youth.

Please urge your state legislators to co-sponsor the Massachusetts Indigenous Agenda bills today!

Blackfoot Beaded and Painted Antelope Hide Shirt, c. 1870

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

HD.1611/SD.1410 (Rogers/Biele, Collins)

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.

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