Monday, December 09, 2013

Arizona Indian Tribes Seeking To Block Paris Auction Of Sacred Items

According to AFP, in France on Friday a Paris court dismissed a lawsuit attempting to stop today's auction of 25 sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache tribes in Arizona. The judge wrote:  "while the sale of these cultural objects can constitute an affront to the dignity of the Hopi tribe, this moral and philosophical consideration does not in itself give the judge the right to suspend the sale of these masks which is not forbidden in France."  On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a press release stating that it had delivered a letter to the EVE auction house on behalf of the two Indian tribes requesting a delay in the auction scheduled for Dec. 9-10 so that the tribes "might 
have 
the opportunity 
to 
identify 
the 
objects,
 investigate 
their 
provenance 
and
 determine
whether
 they
 have 
a 
claim
 to 
recover 
the 
items 
under
 the
 1970 
UNESCO
Convention
 on
 the
 Export 
and 
Transfer 
of
 Ownership
 of
 Cultural 
Property, 
to 
which 
France 
is 
a
 signatory,
 or 
under
 other 
laws."

UPDATE: AP reports that the EVE auction house went ahead with the sale of the objects, saying that their action is legal under French law. One of the masks being auctioned was purchased by the Hopi's French lawyer who intends to return it to the tribe.

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