Friday, April 5, 2013

Hopi Katsinam alert

Sadness reigns and I am afraid that also arrogance is at play. There are few means at the disposal of the Hopi to try and repatriate their sacred Katsinam. The tribe receives help from two major museum directors. The tribe also receives advice from the State and Interior Departments, but each agency says its ability to intervene is limited. The sale is supposed to bring one million dollar. Some people are suggesting to hold a collection and buy the Katsinam in order to repatriate them and give them back to the Hopi, the Zuni, Jemez and Acoma. Most of the Katsinam are over 100 years old. I love Katsinas and own three of the small 'dolls' carved to teach their meaning to children and which can be sold to tourists. Yet the Katsinam in the auction are ceremonial sacred objects with a specific function. They are irreplaceable. Only their rightful custodians know how to care for them, how to use their power. International law seems not to regulate this situation. Yet moral law does. The auctioneers wonder why another auction last December by a smaller auction house in Paris didn't cause any reaction. Well, the Hopi didn't know, could not react. I know that Hopi religion is has strict ways of doing things and as a visitor on Hopi it is easy to do something inappropriate out of ignorance. Selling these Katsinam is inappropriate. The auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou knows it is. The tribes, museums and individuals caring about this disastrous sale have told them so.
Please do tell them too, let them know how you feel:
31bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre
75009 PARIS
Tèl: # 33

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