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The Hopi Tribe Opposes Auction Of Sacred Objects In France

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hopi Tribe is vehemently opposed to the auction of Hopi sacred objects at the upcoming Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction scheduled for April 12 in France. The tribe is requesting that the sacred objects be returned to the Hopi Tribe 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."

The sacred objects in question have high religious value to the Hopi Tribe dating back centuries. Part of the Hopi Tribe's cultural history and upbringing states that showing the images of these sacred objects is highly offensive to the Hopi Tribe. In addition, these items should be referred to only as sacred objects, incorrectly labeling them and showing the images is very disrespectful to the entire American Indian community and the Hopi Tribe.

"The majority of the sacred objects that are being sold date back to the 1930s," said Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Tribe's Cultural Preservation Office.   "They were likely illegally obtained by a French citizen visiting our reservation.  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.

"The sacred objects that are being put up for auction belong to the entire Hopi Tribe, they have cultural patrimony meaning there is a tribal and cultural right, they have never belonged to a single person," said Kuwanwisiwma. "Because these objects do not belong to a single person, they have no monetary value and cannot be sold."

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