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DHA: Tribal listening session on sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 (3:00 PM - 5:00 PM) (EST)
Dear Tribal Leader:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) truly values our partnerships with Tribal Nations and are honored to be hosting a Tribal listening session related to the handling of sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items. DHS and its Components, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), may come into contact with such items in several ways, two examples of which are when Tribal Citizens cross the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico or travel through airports.
The purpose of this listening session is to solicit input from Tribal Nations and Alaska Native Corporations, and have a conversation on the following issues:
- Please, if possible, describe a few anonymous scenarios where DHS or Components came into contact with sacred, ceremonial or cultural items and processed them respectfully.
- Please, if possible, describe a few anonymous examples where DHS or Components came into contact with sacred, ceremonial or cultural items and could have done better handling them.
- Please describe an ideal interaction at the U.S. border with Canada or Mexico between CBP staff and a Tribal Member who is crossing the border with sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items.
- Please describe an ideal interaction between TSA staff and a Tribal Member who is traveling through an airport with sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items.
- Please describe ways that CBP officers can handle sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items to expedite Tribal Citizens traveling across the Northern (Canada) or Southern border (Mexico).
- What do you need from TSA regarding carrying sacred, ceremonial, or cultural items through TSA checkpoints, in carry-on luggage and/or on person?
- What additional TSA services and/or assistance can we provide on these issues?
- To ensure proper handling of sacred, ceremonial, and cultural items, are there educational opportunities about these items such as ceremonial dress, regalia, medicine bundles, rattles, fans, masks, and more?
- What should DHS Component staff who handle sacred, ceremonial, and cultural items know about Tribal Nations cultures and belief systems? Examples may include: Spiritual law, matriarchal and patriarchal leadership in Tribal and Indigenous Nations, and Customs and Traditions.
- What should DHS Component staff who handle sacred, ceremonial, and cultural items know about the significance of a Tribe’s Indigenous language as being key to the culture? A culturally sensitive and appropriate discussion may include world views, cultural ceremonies, religious ceremonies, and other important days, seasons, holidays, etc., insomuch as Tribes choose to share.
- As opposed to sacred, ceremonial, and cultural items that accompany a Tribal Member, are there additional thoughts regarding objects or human remains that are slated for repatriation?
- Sometimes cultural items slated for repatriation have been treated in the past with pesticides in the museum environment to ensure their preservation. How should this information be communicated to ensure ease of transportation and safety?
- What information from TSA would be helpful to you regarding repatriation?
We invite you, members of your staff and your Tribal elders to attend this Tribal listening session.
Registration Link for Both In-Person and Virtual Participation:
Meeting Registration - Zoom (zoomgov.com)
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. EST
Location: The Department of Homeland Security
301 7th St. SW, Washington, DC 20407 (Entrance is on the D Street Side)
You are also welcome to submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, December 30, 2022.
This listening session is not a formal consultation, but a conversation focused on sharing information and strengthening the nation-to-nation relationships. We strive to make our work informed by the Tribal experience surrounding these issues.
We look forward to this opportunity and hope that you will join us either in person or virtually.
If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Acting Director of Tribal Government Affairs, Laurel Iron Cloud, at: Laurel.Ironcloud@hq.dhs.gov or (202) 279-1486. Thank you.
Brenda F. Abdelall
Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. EST