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  • Smithsonian head charged for tribal art collection

    Indianz.Com. In Print.
    URL: http://www.indianz.com/News/archives/003341.asp


    Smithsonian head charged for tribal art collection
    Wednesday, January 21, 2004

    Lawrence M. Small, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, has been charged by federal authorities with a misdemeanor violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, The Washington Post reports.

    The Post said Small's vast collection of Brazilian tribal art contained illegal feathers. The paper cited feathers from protected bird species including the jabiru, roseate spoonbill and crested caracara. The collection was once described as containing "headdresses, capes, masks, nosepieces, labrets and armbands" from tribes in Brazil.

    The Post said Small will plead guilty later this week but that the U.S. Attorney in North Carolina has not recommended a fine or incarceration.

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects eagle feather parts and feathers. The law makes it a crime to transport, possess or sell eagle parts. Members of federally-recognized tribes are carved out an exemption. A federal appeals court has ruled that members of terminated tribes also have the right to possess eagle parts and feathers.

    Get the Story:
    U.S. Charges Smithsonian Secretary (The Washington Post 1/21)

    Relevant Links:
    National Museum of the American Indian - http://www.nmai.si.edu

    Related Stories:
    Week long festival planned for NMAI opening in Sept. (01/16)

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