Secretary Jewell addresses auctions of tribal property in France

The Drouot auction house, seen here in a photo from June 2014, is scheduled to sell even more tribal items on December 7, 2015. Photo from Facebook

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell met with authorities in France this week to discuss the sales of tribal property and sacred items.

Several tribes have protested auctions of their cultural patrimony but authorities in France have refused to stop the transactions. Another one is scheduled to take place on Monday.

"We look at catalog after catalog," Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, the cultural preservation director for the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, told the Associated Press. "The central piece of attention is Hopi items because they're the most numerous. But you have items by other tribes being auctioned off. It's a coalition issue by indigenous tribes here in the United States."

Jewell, who was in France for the 21st Conference of Parties climate change talks, met with French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubir on Wednesday. They agreed to discuss ways for tribes to reclaim their property, according to a press release.

Jewell also met with Catherine Chadelat, the president of the Conseil des Ventes Volontaires, France's auctioneering association and regulation agency. Officials there have refused to look into the way the items that have been sold were acquired.

Get the Story:
Feds Try To Stop Sale Of Southwest Tribal Sacred Items In Paris (Fronteras 12/4)
US, French officials meet about auction of tribal objects (AP 12/4)

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