Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage Objects on Display in Market

Foreign holdings and sales of cultural heritage are a source of great concern for communities worldwide, including federally recognized Tribes. Cultural heritage is significant to Indigenous communities and their identity, health, and well-being. DOI-ITAP works to support countries in their efforts to repatriate items of cultural heritage offered in foreign auctions or held in foreign museums. Below are some selected examples of DOI-ITAP's recent cultural heritage projects!



Rightful Return and Protection of Cultural Heritage (Global) 

DOI-ITAP is working to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world by: increasing the U.S. government’s capacity to monitor and implement cultural property agreements; promoting sound management of cultural heritage sites and objects; and increasing regional collaboration to protect cultural heritage from shared threats.  

DOI-ITAP has directly assisted in the establishment of bilateral agreements aiming to protect the cultural property and heritage of Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Egypt.  

DOI-ITAP also has facilitated productive engagement among Tribal and Native Hawaiian community leaders, international museum leaders, and U.S. Government representatives on the return of Native American cultural items and ancestral remains held at museums around the globe.  

DOI-ITAP is proud to be working with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Heritage Center on this effort. 

Protected Area Management in the Selva Maya (Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico)

The Selva Maya, or Maya Jungle region, spans Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico, and is home to diverse wildlife and hundreds of ancient Maya cities. 

DOI-ITAP works with in-country partners and DOI specialists to strengthen protected area management, environmental governance, and local community empowerment in the region, bolstering cross-border collaboration

DOI-ITAP engages local communities in conservation efforts through initiatives such as voluntarily setting community lands aside for conservation, promoting community-based tourism, and empowering Indigenous women and youth as conservation leaders. 

With support from USAID Guatemala, DOI-ITAP and its partners have contributed to recovery of forest cover, successful prosecution of environmental crimes, wildfire prevention, protection of archaeological sites, and combating wildlife trafficking. 


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