Because of the historically troubling treatment of American Indians by the United States government, the nation’s native populations have been largely unable to control their cultural identities. Cultural property laws provide a framework for transferring stolen art and cultural objects to their native owners in an attempt to return cultural sovereignty to native communities. Despite Alaska’s large and thriving native population, Alaska Natives have trailed behind other states’ native populations in asserting their cultural property rights. This Note considers the current cultural property framework and its evolution in an effort to understand why Alaska Natives are not seeking return of their cultural objects to the same extent as other native groups.

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