Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie on Wednesday called for the Justice Department and other federal agencies to take whatever actions they can to block planned auctions in France of ceremonial katsina faces, considered sacred to the tribe. Already twice I went to Paris to go and watch what happened during the sales of the Hopi Katsinam Friends. There was each time a lot of protest, but the French authorities don't seem to care.
The Arizona congressional delegation asked U.S. agencies to help block katsina auctions.
Two auctions in Paris of the sacred Hopi objects are planned during June.
Five auctions have taken place since 2013, despite efforts by the Hopi to stop them.
The point of view of the Hopi is clear: I quote here:
Hopi leaders, backed by Arizona's entire congressional delegation, on Wednesday called for the Justice Department and other federal agencies to take whatever actions they can to block planned auctions in France of ceremonial katsina faces, considered sacred to the tribe.
"We need to bring all our katsina friends home to their rightful place on the Hopi lands," declared tribal Chairman Herman Honanie. "Hopi is absolute in its stance that these auctions must cease. We call on all local, state and federal agencies to aid our efforts..."
During a news conference at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Honanie said auction houses in Paris have scheduled sales of the visages on June 1 and June 10, with a total of 13 ceremonial katsinas. At least five similar auctions have been conducted since April 2013, despite Hopi efforts to stop them through French courts and regulatory agencies.
All 11 of Arizona's U.S. Senate and House members signed a letter dated May 21 to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey, asking the agencies to investigate "potential options the federal government could take to address the Hopi Tribe's concerns."
The Heard Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona, meanwhile, released copies of a letter they addressed to French President Francois Hollande, requesting his "intervention." That correspondence says the auctions constitute "the sale of stolen property, which is obviously legally prohibited both in the United States and around the world."
Last time, at the second auction we all tried to have the sales forbidden: but the French courts decided differently. It was a sad day and the guards at the auction house were over bearing and intimidating. The auction master had no respect in handling and speaking about the katsinam.
The main point is, that the objects in the auction are sacred, ceremonial objects. They have power. They are not tourist pieces. My small shrine I have does not hold ceremonial pieces. Just pieces that bring me joy and remind me of the beauty of Hopi ceremony and the way of life of the Hopi.
Clowns from Amsterdam
5 years ago