Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'These are not decorative masks,' Hopi tribesmen say, who call their sale 'sacrilege'

In spite of protests from Native American Hopi tribesmen, in addition to international efforts, the auction of 70 sacred Hopi masks will proceed at the elegant Hotel Drouot in Paris.

The masks, constructed out of leather or wood and ornamented with horsehair or paint, as art, but rather as living beings that never should have left their native land.

The masks, constructed out of leather or wood and ornamented with horsehair or paint, as art, but rather as living beings that never should have left their native land.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Hopi tribesmen, sacered masks, kachinas, France, auction, sacrilege


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Arizona-based tribe protested the sale. Survival International, a London-based association that defends indigenous populations filed a court action in France. However, a Parisian judge ruled on Friday to allow the event to proceed.

French lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber told reporters that "It's very odd that there are 70 masks that end up in the hands of a collector.

"We're not saying they were obtained illegally, but given American and international laws that forbid the sale or exportation of such objects, there are questions that must be raised and answered. Once the sale is completed, we'll lose track of the masks. It will be too late."

Servan adds that "These are not decorative masks . They are [according to Hopi culture] something that connects the world of the living to the spiritual world."

There are 18,000 Hopi Indians spread out around 12 towns in northern Arizona. The masks, constructed out of leather or wood and ornamented with horsehair or paint, as art, but rather as living beings that never should have left their native land.

"[The masks] personify spirits, called 'Kachinas,' which are thought to bring rain or encourage fertility," anthropologist Patrick Perez, the author of a book on the Hopi Indians of Arizona, says. "They are used in a religious context."

The auction sale, Perez says amounts to sacrilege, and is the cause of genuine suffering among members of the tribe. "They feel awful about this. They are responsible [for the masks] and are supposed to guard them," Perez said.

"Now they believe that because of this auction, there may be less rain this year or fewer children born, or more disease. Imagine if we collected Eucharist's [Christian communion wafers] and put them up for auction. These are living rituals."

In response, French auction house Néret-Minet Tessier says that the collection of the masks was acquired legally by a French citizen who lived for more than 30 years in the U.S.

"The claim that Hopi cultural patrimony is exclusively their property has no legal basis according to French law," the auction house told French press agency Agence France-Presse. "They're building their case around an article of the Hopi Constitution, which is not recognized in France because the tribe is not a state or country in and of itself."

However - according to the federal NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) of 1990 formally requires all Native American cultural items to be returned to the appropriate tribe, and the type of auction set to take place in France is strictly forbidden.


 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


You know about the 'Bishop of Bling' but do American clergy have the same problem too? Watch

Image of The Bishop of Bling was sacked after he spent $43 million renovating his home.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has called for "a Church which is poor and for the poor." However, not every member of the clergy may have read the memo. A number of high-ranking Church officials in the United States live in lavish homes, sometimes bordering on the scandalous. LOS ... continue reading


Water leak leads to discovery of 1795 time capsule - left by Paul Revere! Watch

Image of A worker holds the time capsule left by the revolutionaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paul Revere, the fearless revolutionary who mounted his horse to declare that "The British are coming! The British are coming!" has left an enduring national legacy - in both deed and actions. Excitement is mounting with the discovery of a time capsule left by Revere ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 19th, 2014 Image

St. Nemesius
December 19: Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter