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Hopis Hoping to Recover Katsina Friends

Hopis Hoping to Recover Katsina Friends
June 01
11:02 2017

The Hopi Tribe is not abandoning its efforts to reclaim artifacts that the tribe insists have been stolen.

The tribe is vigorously asserting its claims in the international arena – particularly in Paris, where objects considered sacred by the tribe have been auctioned off to collectors in the past.

Of special concern to the Hopi Tribe are the katsina friends – painted, wooden objects symbolic of tribal deities.

“We need to bring all our katsina friends home to their rightful place on the Hopi lands,” Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie said.

According to Hopi tradition the katsina friends are not supposed to leave the Hopis’ ancestral lands.

But the EVE auction house is planning to hold a sixth sale of tribal objects.

The French auction house has more than 200 cultural items taken from Arizona, New Mexico and other states.

The Hopi Tribe has been fighting to recover the sacred items since 2013.

Even U.S. officials and other tribes have tried to stop the auctions. After many protests the EVE auction house did withdraw one item in had intended to sell during a 2016 auction. It was a shirt made of human scalps.

The National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C., called an emergency meeting of tribes last year as part of an attempt to block the sale.
Previous attempts to prevent the sales of the cultural items failed, despite requests from the U.S. government to French officials. Former Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell and French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira formed a working group to try to find a remedy.

But French courts have refused to block the sales.

In 2014, the Navajo Nation retrieved several of its objects by sending then-Vice President Rex Lee Jim to Paris to buy the items in question.

French courts have repeatedly denied requests by the Hopi Tribe to delay auctions so the tribe can investigate how the sacred items came to be in France.

The EVE auction house has sold other Native American cultural items despite strenuous protests from tribes.

The Paris auction house has insisted that all of the items sold were obtained legally.

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