The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Recognition of the Pueblo of Zia’s Cultural Property Rights to the Zia Sun Symbol
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, since time immemorial the Pueblo of Zia has used the Sacred Zia Sun Symbol during religious ceremonies and has had the Zia Sun affixed to garments and pottery used for ceremonial purposes; and
WHEREAS, a ceremonial pot used for religious ceremonies was stolen from the Pueblo sometime in the late 1800s; and
WHEREAS, the stolen pot was eventually housed in the New Mexico Museum of Anthropology, in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, in the early 1920s, Dr. Harry Mera saw the pot and designed a proposed flag for the State of New Mexico using the colors and patterns of the Zia Sun Symbol; and
WHEREAS, the Zia Sun Symbol flag design was formally adopted by the State of New Mexico in 1925; and
WHEREAS, for over ninety years since the adoption of the New Mexico State Flag, hundreds of individuals, businesses, organizations, schools and political subdivisions of New Mexico have used the Zia Sun Symbol; and
WHEREAS, the Pueblo of Zia has been actively pursuing recognition and restoration of its inherent cultural property rights to the Zia Sun Symbol; and
WHEREAS, the People of the Pueblo of Zia are concerned that the unauthorized, widespread and commercial use of the Zia Sun Symbol cheapens its religious and cultural meaning and disregards its origins; and
WHEREAS, cultural intellectual property rights is a major concern for many tribes and their efforts to protect sacred cultural practices, items, and knowledge; and
WHEREAS, all Indian nations should support one another in restoring our rights to cultural property.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI does support the efforts of the Pueblo of Zia to recognize and restore their cultural property rights in the Zia Sun Symbol; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI does recognize the Pueblo of Zia’s cultural property rights in the Zia Sun Symbol; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.