Acoma Pueblo waits on France to return stolen ceremonial shield

Conroy Chino, left, a traditional leader of Acoma Pueblo in New mexico, joined 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

Authorities in France have asked Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico for more information about a ceremonial shield that was stolen from the reservation, the Associated Press reports.

The shield was put on the auction block before it was pulled by the EVE auction house late last month. The tribe hopes it will come back home.

“When these items do go, we don’t really know when, where, how it all occurred, and all of the sudden they’re popping up overseas,” Gov. Kurt Riley told the Associated Press. “We’re in the dark as well. But we do know it never should have left the bounds of the reservation, and so once it’s gone, we know it’s a violation of our traditional law.”

The shield belongs to the entire tribe and was being held by a caretaker when it was stolen, sometime in the 1970s. Eventually it ended up at the auction house, which sold hundreds of other items on May 30 despite complaints from other tribes.

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Tribes hail shield’s halted sale; collectors ask what’s next (AP 6/22)

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