Dec 13, 2014 2:40 PM

US asks auction house to suspend Navajo, Hopi sale

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) The U.S. Embassy in Paris is asking a French auction house to suspend the planned sale Monday of Navajo and Hopi artifacts.

The embassy said Saturday that U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley asked the auction house to withdraw the "sacred and culturally significant objects" to allow representatives from the two to determine provenance and see whether they can be reclaimed.

The Hopis have been unsuccessful in the past, with court rulings in Paris declaring such sales legal. The tribe routinely has opted out of purchasing any items auctioned in Paris, although a U.S. charity once secretly bid on Hopi and Apache items and later returned them to the tribes.

The objects for sale by the Drouot auction house include masks believed to have been used in Navajo wintertime healing ceremonies.


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