At the Forefront of Repatriation: New Policy and Impact beyond the United States

Moderator: Brian Vallo, Indian Arts Research Center at SAR; Panelists: Kate Fitz Gibbon, JD, Fitz Gibbon Law, JD; Honor Keeler, JD, International Repatriation Project; Gregory Smith, JD, Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker

IARC Speaker Series, Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, School for Advanced Research, 660 Garcia Street, Santa Fe

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 pm, Admission is free.

IARC Speaker SeriesIARC Speaker SeriesIARC Speaker Series

In recent years, discussions about the 25th anniversary of the passage of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) and a spurt of highly-contested auctions in France featuring cultural patrimony, have made clear that more needs to be done in the field of repatriation, both on the home front and internationally. Spurred by these occurrences, lawmakers, museums, and tribal communities have been pushing government, auction houses, and collectors alike toward a more ethical treatment of sacred cultural belongings. This discussion delves into recent policy and proposed solutions beyond NAGPRA.



Brian ValloBrian ValloA member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe, Brian Vallo has more than 25 years of experience working with tribal groups throughout the Southwest.  A former Lt. Governor, Director of Historic Preservation, and Founding Director of the Haakú Museum at Acoma, his recent work experience extends into the fields of architecture, planning, and the arts.  During his tenure as Director of Historic Preservation, he led an unprecedented capital campaign in partnership with Santa Fe-based Cornerstones Community Partnerships and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in support of a comprehensive rehabilitation of historic San Esteban del Rey Mission and Convent at Acoma Pueblo.  Brian also led the planning, design, and construction of the Sky City Cultural Center and Haakú Museum following a fire that destroyed the Tourist Center, the Pueblo’s first for-profit operation.  In addition to his work at Acoma, Brian served as the Museum Director at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, taught at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning, and was employed as a Tribal Liaison for the UNM Institute for Astrophysics LodeStar Project.  Brian has served on a number of Boards including the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies at UNM, the Chamiza Foundation, Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, the Native American Advised Endowment Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and the American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, to name a few.

Kate Fitz GibbonKate Fitz GibbonKate Fitz GibbonKate Fitz Gibbon works in the fields of art and cultural heritage law, museum law, trusts and estate planning. Kate is a member of the Art and Cultural Heritage Law Committee of the American Bar Association, New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts, and the Committee for Cultural Policy. Kate was also a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the President from 2000-2003.

She is a frequent speaker on legal and art historical topics and was editor of Who Owns the Past? Cultural Property, Cultural Policy and the Law, Rutgers University Press, 2005, author of Native American Art and the Law: A Collector’s Guide, 2010 and six books on Asian art, including IKAT, winner of the Wittenborn Prize for Best Art Book of 1996. She is the editor of the Art News blog of The Committee for Cultural Policy, Inc.

Honor KeelerHonor KeelerHonor Keeler (Cherokee Nation) is the Director of the International Repatriation Project, which she brought to the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) through a grassroots effort by the Working Group on International Repatriation, composed of Native Nations, tribal members, and others seeking to bring their Ancestors, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony home. Prior to working at the AAIA, Keeler was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Repatriation Coordinator at Wesleyan University, where she taught classes centered upon tribal and federal Indian law, Indigenous international law, cultural resources protection, American Indian youth, and repatriation. She has also worked at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Indian Law Center, and Blackwell Sanders. Keeler received her A.B. from Brown University with Honors in Anthropology, and her J.D. and Indian Law Certificate at the University of New Mexico School of Law where she graduated with clinical honors. In 2010, Keeler founded the International Repatriation Blog, and authored Indigenous International Repatriation (2012), an ASU law journal article, and A Guide to International Repatriation: Starting an Initiative in Your Community (2015). She has worked extensively with Indigenous Nations and others on the tribal, national, and international levels.

Gregory SmithGregory SmithGregory SmithGregory Smith is a partner in the DC office of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, a law firm dedicated to the representation of tribes and tribal interests. For nearly 30 years, Mr. Smith has provided a broad range of legal and legislative services to tribal governments and tribal organizations. He continues to represent a number of tribes and serves as general counsel to: United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.; National Indian Education Association, National Council of Urban Indian Health; and the National Indian Head Start Directors Association. A graduate of Yale College and Cornell Law School, Mr. Smith was named “Indian Child Advocate of the Year” in 2008. Among other positions, he is the co-chair of the National Council of the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution).

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