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Old 04-10-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
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Survival goes to court to stop Hopi sacred objects auction

Survival goes to court to stop Hopi sacred objects auction

Hopi elder James Kootshongsie, who died in 1996. The Hopi are 'vehemently opposed' to the sale of the tribe's sacred objects in a Paris auction house.
© Jonathan Mazower / Survival
Lawyers acting for Survival International have today filed legal papers in an attempt to stop the sale of sacred objects of the Hopi tribe in a Paris auction house this Friday.

The Hopi tribe of Arizona had previously written to the auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, asking them to cancel the sale on the grounds that the objects were the cultural property of the tribe, and that their public display and sale caused them grave offence. However, the auction house appears intent on proceeding with the sale.

Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber of the firm Skadden, Arps has today obtained permission from a Paris judge to summon the auction house to a court hearing, to take place on April 11 at 10.00am, to hear Survival’s motion for a suspension of the auction sale, pending a proper examination of the lawfulness of the collection and its sale.

The Hopi tribe has said it is ‘vehemently opposed’ to the auction, and has requested that the objects are returned to them immediately.

‘The Hopi Tribe must protect the cultural beliefs that we have used for centuries and still continue to use today’, said Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa. ‘We think these sacred objects were stolen from the Hopi Tribe and should be returned to the proper custodians and caretakers, the Kachina chiefs, within their respective Hopi villages.’

Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Tribe’s Cultural Preservation Office, said, ‘The mere fact that a price tag has been placed upon such culturally significant and religious items is beyond offensive. They do not have a market value. Period.’

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said today, ‘It ought to be pretty clear to the auctioneers that the sale of these objects would cause profound hurt and distress to the Hopi people. To the Hopi, these are not museum objects but an intrinsic part of a thriving, living culture, which should be treated with respect. The auction house should think again and cancel the sale.’

Note to Editors:

- The Hopi tribe number around 18,000, living in 12 villages in northeastern Arizona. They call their homeland Hopituskwa.

- Download the Hopi’s letter to the auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou (pdf, 205 kb)

Source Survival goes to court to stop Hopi sacred objects auction - Survival International
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:13 PM   #2
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There has to be some way of publicizing the begeebers outta this. Plaster the news of the auction everywhere. Shame the auction house into delaying the auction and letting the elders look at the objects.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:17 PM   #3
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Where did the items to be auctioned come from?

Any chance a price was originally put on them by a member of the Hopi?
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #4
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If I read the article correctly, the auction house is hiding the names of the sellers.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Here is a link to the a page showing the objects for sale:
Néret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou
More than 50 hopi masks!!!! Sorry but the text is in French.

And here is a link to a petition against this auction:
Petitioning Drouot-Richelieu Gallery 2This petition will be delivered to:
Drouot-Richelieu GalleryNeret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction HouseStop the Auction of Hopi and Zuni Sacred Objects in Paris on April 12 by; Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction House and Drouot-Richelieu Gallery
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop...helieu-gallery
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggenGH View Post
Here is a link to the a page showing the objects for sale:
Néret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou
More than 50 hopi masks!!!! Sorry but the text is in French.

And here is a link to a petition against this auction:
Petitioning Drouot-Richelieu Gallery 2This petition will be delivered to:
Drouot-Richelieu GalleryNeret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction HouseStop the Auction of Hopi and Zuni Sacred Objects in Paris on April 12 by; Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction House and Drouot-Richelieu Gallery
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop...helieu-gallery
I signed the petition too.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by LeannB View Post
If I read the article correctly, the auction house is hiding the names of the sellers.
And why would they do that?
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Powwow Dancer View Post
I signed the petition too.
Do as White Powwow Dancer!!! SIGN the petition!!!!

Here is a facebook-acounted against this auction:
Stop the Auction of Hopi and Zuni Sacred Objects in Paris on April 12
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
And why would they do that?
If I had a bad conscience, I would hide my name!!!!

Some more articles to read, this time in English.

French hearing on contested Hopi artifacts auction
... urging the court to suspend it so that their origin can be determined. ...

Hopi Katsinam Auction in Paris: A Conversation with the Auctioneer
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Last edited by GoggenGH; 04-11-2013 at 02:51 PM.. Reason: Added some links.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggenGH View Post
If I had a bad conscience, I would hide my name!!!!

Some more articles to read, this time in English.

French hearing on contested Hopi artifacts auction
... urging the court to suspend it so that their origin can be determined. ...

Hopi Katsinam Auction in Paris: A Conversation with the Auctioneer
Hey GoggenGH
Do they have any pictures up about the idems in ?.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:57 PM   #11
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French judge to rule if Hopi masks can be sold
By THOMAS ADAMSON, Associated Press | April 11, 2013 | Updated: April 11, 2013 2:15pm

PARIS (AP) — Is there such a thing as too sacred to sell? That's the question a French judge could answer Friday in a potentially landmark decision in Paris on whether dozens of Native American tribal masks can go up for auction.

The masks are undoubtedly striking pieces of art — surreal faces made from wood, leather, horse hair and feathers — and painted in vivid pigments of red, blue, yellow and orange. But to Arizona's Hopi Indians they are also stolen spiritual vessels, and they want them back.

The case has drawn ire on both sides of the Atlantic, with art experts, Native American activists, and even Robert Redford weighing in on who is the rightful owner. In an 11th hour appeal Thursday evening, the U.S. Ambassador to France sent a letter to both the French government and the auction house asking for a delay to the sale.

A lawyer for the Hopi Tribe and the association Survival International argued at a hearing Thursday that the items are "unsellable" under French law because of their spiritual value. He called for the auction to be suspended so that their origin can be determined.

But auctioneer Gilles Neret-Minet at the Drouot auction house says a ruling to stop the sale of artifacts owned by an anonymous French citizen would have trans-Atlantic repercussions, and potentially force French museums to empty out their collections.

"If we lose this case, there will be no more sales of objects of indigenous art in France," Neret-Minet said. "I guess that museums will be obliged to give back their collections. It's major ... It would be terrible for the art market in general."
The 70 objects, mainly Hopi, went on display for the first time as the court battle kicked off on Thursday, offering a rare public glimpse of such works in Europe. They date to the late 19th century and early 20th century, and are thought to have been taken from a northern Arizona reservation in the 1930s and 1940s. The most expensive single mask is estimated to be worth at least 50,000 euros ($66,000).

The Associated Press is not transmitting images of the objects because the Hopi have long kept the items out of public view and consider it sacrilegious for any images of the objects to appear.

If the judge rules in the auction house's favor on Friday, the items will go up for sale within hours.

Neret-Minet insisted the auction would be "a beautiful homage" to the Hopis. But Hopi representatives don't think that's enough. They want the auction house to prove the masks weren't stolen — through certificates of ownership, for example.

They say the masks have a special status, and are far more than just art: They are their dead ancestors' spirits.

"This is not just an art object, artifact or something that you hang on the wall or wear on the day of a wedding. This is where the spirit of the dead communicates with the living," said the tribe's French lawyer, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, outside the courtroom Thursday. "Under French law, you cannot sell or purchase a tomb."

He said the masks were never sold or given away, and "clearly" belong to the Hopis: "It's impossible for those masks to have left the tribe without (someone) violating some law."

The tribe's chairman, Le Roy Shingoitewa, said only a Hopi has the right to possess them.

"Given the importance of these ceremonial objects to Hopi religion, you can understand why ... they (Hopis) regard an auction not as homage but as a desecration to our religion," said Shingoitewa in a letter written to the auction house last week.

The Hopi camp are hoping an individual or organization will step in to buy back the objects for the tribe, since they don't have enough money.

Hollywood star Redford on Thursday wrote a letter protesting plans to sell off the masks, calling the proposed sale "sacrilege" — and even a "criminal gesture." Redford condemned the looming auction in Paris and warned of "grave moral consequences" if it went ahead.

Describing himself "as a close friend of the... Hopi culture," Redford wrote that the masks "belong to the Hopi and the Hopi alone."
French judge to rule if Hopi masks can be sold - Houston Chronicle
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:00 PM   #12
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I do not have a facebook account, so no petition signing for me.

BUT---this is just a symptom of what is wrong with the world. I am Christian.

But you do not sell someone's beliefs for $$$.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by White Powwow Dancer View Post
Hey GoggenGH
Do they have any pictures up about the idems in ?.
Sorry White Powwow Dancer, but can you reprase your question?
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LeannB View Post
I do not have a facebook account, so no petition signing for me.

BUT---this is just a symptom of what is wrong with the world. I am Christian.

But you do not sell someone's beliefs for $$$.
You can sign this one, LeannB, without facebook:
Petitioning Drouot-Richelieu Gallery 2This petition will be delivered to:
Drouot-Richelieu GalleryNeret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction HouseStop the Auction of Hopi and Zuni Sacred Objects in Paris on April 12 by; Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou Auction House and Drouot-Richelieu Gallery
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop...helieu-gallery
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:50 PM   #15
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Where did the items to be auctioned come from?

Any chance a price was originally put on them by a member of the Hopi?
The auction house, however, has said there are no grounds to halt the sale, stressing that the items being sold were acquired legally by a French collector during a 30-year residence in the United States.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:55 PM   #16
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Hey GoggenGH
Do they have any pictures up about the idems in ?.
NOPE. I THINK the article I posted above said that the news folks are NOT publishing pics of the items, out for respect for the Hopi beliefs that they are sacred and not for general public perusal.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #17
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NOPE. I THINK the article I posted above said that the news folks are NOT publishing pics of the items, out for respect for the Hopi beliefs that they are sacred and not for general public perusal.
Here is one example:


(Or should I remove the photo out of respect too????)

Here is a google-translation of the item-description:
LOT NO 1
KOOYEMSI (KOOKOYEMSIM at pl.) - Hood KOYEMSI (Colton 59): Mudhead, Fathead mud. HOPI, Arizona. Ca 1920-1930. Hood fabric dyed in red ocher pierced with two eyes and a mouth surrounded by a circular bead, black stripe and white cross on the front, four gourds on the head, back and sides, drawstring fastening the base. And natural earth pigments. Total height: 41 cm. Overall width: 31 cm. No.: Fewkes: Three Koyimsi: XLV, p. 107 (see reproduction in the second cover). Laniel - The Francis p. 224-225


And the price: 1 500 - 2 000 € ! ! ! ! ! !


And if you take a look at this page (in French), you will see all 70 mask for sale:
Néret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou
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Last edited by GoggenGH; 04-11-2013 at 05:22 PM.. Reason: Modification.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:55 PM   #18
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many hopi kids go thier whole life never seeing these up close.....how the hell did some european get one?
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:37 PM   #19
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many hopi kids go thier whole life never seeing these up close.....how the hell did some european get one?
I was thinking about that one too.
Thanks for the pictures of the idems.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:19 AM   #20
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The auction house, however, has said there are no grounds to halt the sale, stressing that the items being sold were acquired legally by a French collector during a 30-year residence in the United States.
In sum, he bought it from a Hopi.

Don't blame the owner or the auction.
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