Editorial: Acoma Pueblo needs justice for theft of sacred property

Conroy Chino, left, a traditional leader of the Acoma Pueblo, joined tribal Gov. Kurt Riley to ask “people of France to honor our humanity" and return cultural items set for auction. Photo by Emily Zentner / Cronkite News

New Mexico newspaper calls on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to help secure justice for Acoma Pueblo by helping identify whoever was responsible for the sale of a sacred shield to an auction house in France:
It’s still an ocean away from home, but a colorful leather shield used in tribal religious ceremonies is an important step closer to Acoma Pueblo.

It took intense lobbying by pueblo officials, a New Mexico congressman and a U.S. Cabinet secretary to get the EVE auction house in Paris to pull the shield from its recent sale of religious items and art pieces from the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Considering the Acoma family that cared for the shield maintains it was stolen decades ago from their home during a break-in, and France’s adherence to the 1970 Convention on the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property, pulling the shield was the right thing to do. It is all the more important because until the auction house took that step, it maintained that Acoma should buy back its items in the name of “efficiency and discretion.”

Acoma hewed to the principles of justice, refusing to fuel the “black market” in stolen cultural items that prompts thievery in the first place.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Acoma shield closer to home (The Albuquerque Journal 6/5)

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