• France's news in English

US urges France to stop Native American sales

AFP · 14 Dec 2014, 10:02

Published: 14 Dec 2014 10:02 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A letter to the Eve auction house on Friday from Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to France, called for the objects to be pulled from bidding while the Hopi and Navajo tribes "determine if they have recourse to seek their return".

A Navajo delegation argues the objects belong to the tribe -- which considers them living beings -- after viewing the items at the Drouot auction house in Paris, according to an embassy statement.

The delegation spotted eight "sacred" masks and a series of Hopi statuettes and representations of faces.

In addition to taking the items off the auction block, Hartley has asked Eve director Alain Leroy to encourage a dialogue between the sellers and the tribes that would lead to the objects' return to the Navajo and Hopi.

Meanwhile, the Hopi tribe and the native peoples defence group Survival International asked a court on Friday to order the release of the sellers' identities.

Activists' previous attempts to block auctions of Native American objects in France have failed, with French courts rejecting three prior requests from the Hopi and Survival International since April 2013.

Previous pressure from the United States on Eve to halt sales of objects from the tribes were unsuccessful as well.

An auction of Native American masks originating from the Hopi tribe went ahead in June despite objections from the US embassy and members of the 18,000-strong community located in the US state of Arizona.

However, supporters of the tribes have found a costly, but effective way to get the items back: buy them.

The Annenberg Foundation purchased 21 Hopi masks and three San Carlos Apache objects at auction in 2013 for $530,000 (€390,000) "for the sole purpose of returning them to their rightful owner," it said

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available