Hopi Tribe trying to stop yet another auction of sacred property

Herman Honanie. Photo from Facebook

The Hopi Tribe of Arizona failed to stop an auction house in France from selling sacred property on Monday as another one looms next week.

The six items, known as Katsina Friends, went for about $44,000, The Wall Street Journal reported. Two women were removed from the EVE auction house for staging a silent protest at the sale, the Associated Press reported.

“I’m against cultural genocide," protester Morgane Geoffroy told the AP. "These are sacred objects that were stolen from people and should be returned to those people.”

The tribe plans to appeal an ruling from the Conseil des Ventes, an agency that regulates auctions, that allowed the sale to go through. Chairman Herman Honanie has filed several lawsuits but all have been rejected so far due to provisions in French law that do not recognize cultural patrimony.

Members of Arizona's Congressional delegation are supporting the tribe. They are asking the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate and prevent future sales of the sacred property.

The Museum of Northern Arizona, the Heard Museum, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Denver Art Museum also oppose the auctions. They sent a letter to President François Hollande last week in protest, the Journal reported.

“The sale of such objects violates various federal, state and tribal statutes that protect the United States’ cultural resources and tribal property,” the letter stated, according to the Journal.

The next sale is due to take place June 10.

Get the Story:
Paris auction of Hopi artifacts decried in US stirs protest (AP 6/1)
Native American Artifacts Sold at Paris Auction Despite Opposition (The Wall Street Journal 6/1)
Hopi Tribe vows to keep fighting French auction houses (KPHO 6/1)
Sacred Items Being Sold To Highest Bidder Despite Protests (The Antimedia 6/1)
Hopis seek federal help to stop katsina auctions (The Arizona Republic 5/28)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Selling Hopi sacred objects is wrong (The Navajo-Hopi Observer 6/2)

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