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S. 1400 (115th): Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2017


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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 21, 2017.


Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2017

This bill amends the federal criminal code to double the maximum prison term (from 5 years to 10 years) for persons convicted of selling, purchasing, using for profit, or transporting for sale or profit the human remains of Native Americans or cultural items obtained in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The bill prohibits the export of Native American cultural items that were obtained in violation of the Act, Native American archaeological resources that were obtained in violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, or Native American objects of antiquity that were obtained in violation of the criminal code. Violators may be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.

The Department of the Interior and the Department of State must each designate a liaison to facilitate and hold trainings and workshops on the voluntary return of human remains or cultural items.

Interior must refer individuals and organizations to Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations to facilitate the voluntary return of human remains or cultural items.

In addition, Interior must convene a tribal working group consisting of representatives of tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to provide advice on issues concerning the return of, and illegal trade in, human remains or cultural items.