Editorial: Repatriate stolen artifacts to tribes
"Artifacts seized in a recent raid in Blanding, Utah, belong to the region's Native American tribes, says Larry Echo Hawk, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for Indian Affairs.

The public-lands looting case against the first major defendants concluded last week when Jeanne Redd and daughter Jerrica Redd were sentenced to probation and fines, despite sentencing guidelines and prosecutor recommendations for harsher penalties. At the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said Blanding was a community where artifact collecting had been a long-standing practice, and he referred to other consequences of the raid. Jeanne Redd's husband, Blanding physician James Redd, took his own life after his indictment; another defendant also has committed suicide.

With those sentences handed down, the federal government became the owner of about 800 artifacts seized from the Redds. That is the first large cache that will need to be repatriated, leading to Echo Hawk recommendation. At the conclusion of the trials for the remaining 24 defendants, including Durango antiquities dealers Vern and Marie Crites, thousands more artifacts will be released from evidence.

Echo Hawk is absolutely right, and he has the full weight of federal law behind him when it comes to burial goods, which are some of the most valuable artifacts gathered in the raids. It goes without saying human remains, which reportedly include teeth, should be repatriated."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Looting (The Durango Herald 9/22)

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