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Is it legal to own an authentic native american scalp lock?

Omaha, NE |

The definition of scalp lock is a piece of skin that a Native American warrior cut from the head of an enemy.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. That depends on how you came to claim "ownership." It may also depend on the provenance of the item itself, and the proof of its authenticity.

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  2. No, in general an individual is not allowed to own or possess human body parts.

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  3. The answer probably can be found by interpreting the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. You will need an attorney to help interpret this act, and your mere possession may be a violation of this act. Here is the Title of this Act and the relevant provision about illegal trafficking:

    [104 STAT. 3048 PUBLIC LAW 101-601--NOV. 16, 1990]

    SEC. 4. ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING.
    (a) ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING.--Chapter 53 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section:

    " 1170. Illegal Trafficking in Native American Human 1170. Illegal Trafficking in Native American Human Remains and Cultural Items

    "(a) Whoever knowingly sells, purchases, uses for profit, or transports for sale or profit, the human remains of a Native American without the right of possession to those remains as provided in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act shall be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than 12
    months, or both, and in the case of a second or subsequent violation, be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

    "(b) Whoever knowingly sells, purchases, uses for profit, or transports for sale or profit any Native American cultural items obtained in violation of the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act shall be fined in accordance with this title, imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and in the case of a second or subsequent violation, be fined in accordance with this
    title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.".

    This is not intended as legal advice. It is only provided for educational purposes and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Further no attorney client relationship is or has been formed by answering this question.