CALERA, Okla. (KTEN) — A new federal law aims to protect and preserve Native American artifacts. 

"It prevents cultural items from tribes going overseas, and allows for mechanisms to get them back," said Deanna Byrd with the Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation division.

The Safeguard Tribal Object of Patrimony Act was first introduced in 2016.

"We were approached by some attorneys and some tribal movements to get this passed, and asked if we would maybe provide comment to them," Byrd said.

Bryd believes The STOP Act is a massive win for tribes.  

"Its passing is a huge step, mechanism for tribal nations to bring home their sacred items and prevent them from going overseas," she said.

Bryd said the Choctaw Nation never had difficulties with this specific issue. She credits a catalog with helping to prevent the Choctaw Nation from falling victim to this.

"One of the ways that we have had some success in the past is building relationships with tribes abroad through our Choctaw Database Project," Byrd said. "In this we reach out to international institutions as well as domestic institutions and learn about what is in their collections."

Byrd believes this opens other pathways of collaboration and discussion between tribes and the government.