Ceremonial Hopi Items Auctioned In Paris Despite U.S. Criticism

Jun 1, 2015

A Paris auction house is starting a sale of about a dozen Hopi artifacts that tribal leaders and U.S. government officials have sought to prevent. They argue the objects are sacred.


Protestors outside the EVE auction house in Paris last December during another sale of ceremonial Native American objects.
Credit AP

The auction Monday, part of a 121-lot sale by the Estimations Ventes aux Encheres house, marks the latest episode in a string of French-U.S. disagreements about whether such items should be sold.

The Hopi tribe contends the auction house is illegally selling the spiritual objects, known as Katsina Friends. They resemble masks and are used during religious ceremonies and dances to invoke ancestral spirits.

Arizona's congressional delegation has asked the U.S. Justice Department to work to prevent the sale.

The Associated Press is not transmitting images of the objects because the Hopi have strict rules about photographing the items.