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Federal Register Notice, April 22, 1997; 62(77):19488-19492

Archaeological and Ethnological Material From Canada

 
Background Ethnographic Material Culture Archaeological Artifacts


DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY  
Customs Service  
19 CFR Part 12  
[T.D. 97-31]  
RIN 1515-AC14  

Archaeological and Ethnological Material From Canada  

AGENCY: U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury.  
ACTION: Final rule.  



SUMMARY: This document amends the Customs Regulations to reflect the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological material of Canada's native peoples and certain underwater archaeological material. These restrictions are being imposed pursuant to an agreement between the United States and Canada which has been entered into under the authority of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act in accordance with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The document also contains the Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material which describes the articles to which the restrictions apply.  

EFFECTIVE DATE: April 22, 1997.  

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Legal Aspects: Donnette Rimmer, Intellectual Property Rights Branch (202) 482-6960. Operational Aspects: Louis Alfano, Commercial Enforcement, Office of Field Operations (202) 927-0005.  

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  

Background  

The value of cultural property, whether archaeological or ethnological in nature, is immeasurable. Such items often constitute the very essence of a society and convey important information concerning a people's origin, history, and traditional setting. The importance and popularity of such items regrettably makes them targets of theft, encourages clandestine looting of archaeological sites, and results in their illegal export and import.  

The U.S. shares in the international concern for the need to protect endangered cultural property. The appearance in the U.S. of stolen or illegally exported artifacts from other countries where there has been pillage has, on occasion, strained our foreign and cultural relations. This situation, combined with the concerns of museum, archaeological, and scholarly communities, was recognized by the President and Congress. It became apparent that it was in the national interest for the U.S. to join with other countries to control illegal trafficking of such articles in international commerce.  

The U.S. joined international efforts and actively participated in deliberations resulting in the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (823 U.N.T.S. 231 (1972)). U.S. acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention was codified into U.S. law as the "Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act" (Pub.L. 97- 446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.)("the Act"). This was done to promote U.S. leadership in achieving greater international cooperation towards preserving cultural treasures that are of importance not only to the nations from which they originate, but also to greater international understanding of mankind's common heritage. The U.S. is, to date, the only major art importing country to implement the 1970 Convention.  

During the past several years, import restrictions have been imposed on an emergency basis on archaeological and cultural artifacts of a number of signatory nations as a result of requests for protection received from those nations.  

Import restrictions are now being imposed as the result of a bilateral agreement entered into between the United States and Canada. This agreement was signed on April 10, 1997, under the authority of the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2602. Accordingly, Sec. 12.104g(a) of the Customs Regulations is being amended to indicate that restrictions have been imposed pursuant to the agreement between the United States and Canada.  

This document contains the Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material representing the cultures of the native peoples of Canada which are covered by the agreement. Importation of articles on this list is restricted unless the articles are accompanied by an appropriate export certification issued by the Government of Canada.  

In reaching the decision to recommend the application of import restrictions, the Deputy Director, USIA, determined, pursuant to the requirements of the Act, that with respect to:  

(1) Inuit (Eskimo) archaeological and ethnological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological and ethnological material from the Inuit which includes the following periods/cultures: Paleo-Eskimos (2000-500 B.C.), Dorset (500 B.C.-1000 A.D.), Thule (1000-1800 A.D.), and the historic period beginning approximately 1800 A.D.; and originates in the geographic region extending from the Alaskan border in the west to Baffin Island in the east and as far southeast as the coast of Labrador, and south to the treeline, and falling within the present day area defined by the Yukon and Northwest Territories and the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland-Labrador; and with respect to  

(2) Subarctic Indian ethnological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of ethnological material of the Subarctic Indian which covers the period from approximately the 17th century and which material dates from the 17th century A.D.; and which material originates in the geographic region extending from the Alaskan border in the west to Labrador in the east, from the tundra extending south encompassing large areas of the Yukon and Northwest Territories and including parts of all provinces except New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on the east coast; and, with respect to  

(3) Northwest Coast Indian archaeological and ethnological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological and ethnological material of the Northwest Coast Indian beginning from approximately 10,000 B.C. for archaeological material and since approximately 1800 A.D. for ethnological material; and originates in the geographic region extending in Canada along the coast of British Columbia (including offshore islands) from the Alaskan border in the north to the southern tip of Vancouver Island; and, with respect to  

(4) Plateau Indian archaeological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological material of the Plateau Indian dating from approximately 6,000 B.C.; and originates in the southern part of the interior region, between the coastal mountain range and the Rocky Mountains, in the province of British Columbia; and, with respect to  

(5) Plains Indian ethnological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of ethnological material (dating from approximately 1700 A.D.) of the Plains Indian; and originates in Canada in the region extending eastward from the Rocky Mountains, southward from the North Saskatchewan River to the Canada/U.S. border, and encompassing portions of the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; and, with respect to  

(6) Woodlands Indian archaeological and ethnological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological (dating from approximately 9,000 B.C. to approximately 1550 A.D.) and ethnological material (dating from approximately the mid-16th century) of the Woodlands Indian; originating in an area south of the boreal forest in eastern Canada from the Great Lakes to the east coast; and, with respect to  

(7) Underwater archaeological material, that the cultural patrimony of Canada is in jeopardy from the pillage of underwater archaeological material found (at historic shipwrecks and other underwater historic sites) in the inland waters of Canada as well as the Canadian territorial waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and the Great Lakes.  

Designated List of Archaeological Artifacts and Ethnographic Material Culture of Canadian Origin and Certain Underwater Archaeological Material Restricted From Importation Into the United States  

Pursuant to an agreement between the United States and Canada, the following list contains descriptions of the cultural materials for which the United States imposes import restrictions under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (P.L. 97-446), the legislation enabling implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  

Definitions  

For purposes of this list and in accordance with the United States Cultural Property Implementation Act and Canada's Cultural Property Export and Import Act, the following definitions are applicable:  

Archaeological artifact means an object made or worked by a person or persons and associated with historic or prehistoric cultures that is of cultural significance and at least 250 years old and normally discovered as a result of scientific excavation, clandestine or accidental digging, or exploration on land or under water.  

Ethnographic material culture means an object that was made, reworked or adapted for use by a person who is an Aboriginal person of Canada (e.g., the product of a tribal or non-industrial society), is of ethnological interest and is important to the cultural heritage of a people because of its distinctive characteristics, comparative rarity, or its contribution to the knowledge of the origins, development or history of that people. The terms ethnographic material culture and ethnological material are used interchangeably.  

Aboriginal person of Canada means a person of Indian or Inuit ancestry, including a Metis person, or a person recognized as being a member of an Indian, Inuit or Metis group by the other members of that group, who at any time ordinarily resided in the territory that is now Canada.  

General Restrictions  

Pursuant to Canada's Cultural Property Export and Import Act, certain archaeological artifacts and ethnographic material are subject to export control. Export permits are available at designated offices of Canada Customs. Information about export controls is available from Movable Cultural Property, Department of Canadian Heritage by telephone at 819-997-7761.  

In the absence of export permits where required, United States import restrictions will apply to the following Aboriginal cultural groups in Canada: Inuit (Eskimo) archaeological and ethnological material; Subarctic Indian ethnological material; Northwest Coast Indian archaeological and ethnological material; Plateau Indian archaeological material; Plains Indian ethnological material; Woodlands Indian archaeological and ethnological material. Such import restrictions will also apply to underwater archaeological material found at historic shipwrecks and other underwater historic sites in the inland waters of Canada as well as the Canadian territorial waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and the Great Lakes.  

Below are representative lists, subject to amendment, of objects covered by these import restrictions.  

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