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Trump Removed the Only Native American Member From the Cultural Property Advisory Committee

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In the spring of 2017, committee members pose for a photo on the day they were sworn in. O’Loughlin stands in the back row, third from right.

The sole Native American member on a committee that advises the president on international cultural heritage agreements was removed and replaced last week, members of the committee confirmed. Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was appointed to the Department of State’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee in 2016 by former President Barack Obama. She is the first and only Native American to have ever served on the committee.

The advisory committee is responsible for making recommendations on whether or not to enter into cultural property agreements with foreign governments. Those agreements can help protect culturally significant archeological property by cracking down on illegal exports, and providing museum training and on-the-ground preservation efforts.

“I was surprised,” O’Loughlin says, of learning she was being replaced. “And I was substantively disappointed that the only person removed [from the committee] was the Native American woman attorney. It shows how little the administration values the Indigenous voice.”

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