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May 22 Santa Fe Symposium Features Native Elders and Art Market Experts – Working Together

Updated May 14, 2017.  Albuquerque Indian trader Robert Gallegos, who spearheaded a dealer program to return key ceremonial objects to tribes, and Zuni elder Octavius Seowtewa, who traveled to Paris to seek returns of Zuni war gods from European museums, are among the participants in a Santa Fe symposium on May 22, Understanding Cultural Property: A Path to Healing Through Communication. Sam Tenakhongva, a leader and educator from Hopi, and Tim Begay, Navajo Cultural Specialist will also be representing tribal interests. The symposium grew from conversations surrounding the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association (ATADA) voluntary returns program, a cooperative dealer, collector, and tribal initiative to educate the public and facilitate the return of key ceremonial items to the tribes. Tickets here. Schedule below.

Join the experts at a program featuring art dealers, art collectors, Indian artisans and Southwestern tribal leaders, that may decide the future of the Native American art market. The event is sponsored by Santa Fe’s School for Advanced Research and ATADA. The full day program will cover alternative approaches to the return of important tribal heritage and legislation that will impact New Mexico’s regional economy, cultural tourism and private collecting across the United States.

Last year, New Mexico legislators introduced the STOP Act, legislation intended to halt export of ‘cultural objects,’ a widely inclusive category of Native American art and artifacts. Antique art fair and gallery owners in the region have raised concerns that a federal law would be unconstitutional, both because it was far too broad and because limiting it to true ceremonial objects would require disclosure of knowledge that tribes keep secret. Specialist attorneys representing the art trade and Indian organizations will talk about how they see the actual impact of the STOP Act or similar legislation, which is expected to be introduced this year. (The attorneys are Kate Fitz Gibbon, Dallin Maybee, (Seneca/Arapaho Nations), Shannon Keller-O’Loughlin, Esq. (Choctaw), and Gregory Smith.) The voluntary returns program and the symposium grew out of a recognition that education and ‘soft power’ could be more effective than federal legislation in bringing sacred objects back to the tribes.

Some Native artisans fear that any law will confuse the public and taint the Indian Art market, just as new federal elephant ivory laws have severely reduced sales of Native Alaskan walrus ivory carvers. Art market leaders such as Wes Cowan, of Cowan’s Auctions and PBS’s History Detectives, Dallin Maybee of Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) and Kim Martindale of the Antique American Indian Art Show in Santa Fe will address these issues and more on a panel focused on the history of the Indian art trade.

Symposium Day 1
8:30 – 9:00 am:
Check-In and Continental Breakfast

9 :00 am: Welcome
-Kim Martindale, ATADA Vice President and Founding Board member, Objects of Art
Shows, Los Angeles, CA
             -Brian Vallo (Acoma Pueblo), Director of the Indian Arts Research Center, School for
Advanced Research (SAR), Santa Fe, NM.
                                                             9:20 am: Session I, Framing the Issues: The Changing Art Trade

The historical framework of trade, the egress of cultural items, market development, and the current status of the Native American art trade are explored.

-Vanessa Elmore, ATADA Legal Committee, Elmore Art Appraisals, Santa Fe, NM.
              -Wes Cowan, Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
            – Kim Martindale, ATADA Vice President and Founding member, Objects of Art Shows,
Los Angeles, CA
             – Brian Vallo (Acoma Pueblo), Director of the Indian Arts Research Center, School for
Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM

10:20 am: Session II
, Tribal Perspectives: Contemporary Concerns
Tribal perspectives: helping the public to understand contemporary Native religious concepts and outlook, and the inalienability of certain tribal cultural objects.

-Tim Begay, Navajo Nation
-Octavius Seowtewa, Zuni Pueblo
              -Sam Tenakhongva, Hopi Pueblos

-Brian Vallo, (SAR)

12 pm  – 1:15 pm:  Break for Lunch, self-guided

1:20 pm:  Session III
, The STOP Act: Legislation, Operation, and Potential Outcomes
The 2016 STOP Act sought to ban US export of objects of cultural patrimony (using current NAGPRA and ARPA guidelines).  The bill’s goals and intent, operation and implementation through federal agencies, potential outcome, and alternative approaches are discussed.
-Gregory Smith, Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, LLP, Washington, DC

-Kate Fitz Gibbon, Fitz Gibbon Law, LLC, Santa Fe, NM
-Dallin Maybee (Seneca/Arapaho Nations), COO, Southwestern Association of American
Indian Arts (SWAIA), Santa Fe, NM

2:20 pm: Session IV, Building Bridges: Cooperative Initiatives
The ATADA Voluntary Returns initiative is presented and panelists will explore other public and private initiatives that could empower tribal nations, motivate the private market to work cooperatively with tribes, and direct local and federal support toward effective action on cultural heritage.
-Robert Gallegos, ATADA

-Shannon Keller O’Loughlin (Choctaw Nation), ESQ., Attorney
-Robert Alan Hershey, Clinical Professor of Law & Director of Clinical Education,
Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program, University of Arizona
Rogers College of Law

3:20 pm: Session V
: Finding Solutions: Questions & Answers Round Table
 Moderated question and answer period for prior presenters, with audience participation.
– Kate Fitz Gibbon, Robert Gallegos, Dallin Maybee, Gregory Smith, Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, Robert Alan Hershey, Brian Vallo, Octavius Seowtewa, Sam Tenakhongva and more.
-Kim Martindale, ATADA

Moderated question and answer period for prior presenters, with audience participation.

4:20 pm: Closing Remarks
Presenter:  – Kim Martindale, ATADA

Santa Fe’s School for Advanced Research and the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association are sponsoring the event, which will be introduced by Brian Vallo (Acoma) of SAR’s Indian Art Research Center.
For more information on confirmed speakers, panel titles, and sponsors, contact:, Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association, Inc.,

Image: Symposium poster, ATADA.

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