In the United States of America, First Amendment rights are celebrated and taught as a keystone of Democracy. First Americans of this land, however, have never enjoyed the freedom that other Americans do and are continually struggling with the federal government and with racism in order to worship and live a traditional way of life.
Art auction houses, dealers, private collectors, corporations and other non-federally funded institutions are not bound by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA). They have not been required to notify Native Nations1 of potentially repatriatable materials in their collections. Nonetheless, Native Nations regularly learn of materials in these kinds of collections that they would like to have returned. Though private sector individuals and institutions are under no legal obligation to repatriate these materials, there have been a number of occasions in which they have done so.