A Tlingit clan hat was auctioned by Sotheby's yesterday over objections of Alaska Native leaders and a crowdfunding effort that came up short.
A page set up at GoFundMe.com raised over $26,000 from 173 donors hoping to buy Lot 88 in the auction of Arts of the American West, "Rare Northwest Coast Polychromed Wood Clan Hat, Tsimshian or Tlingit." Their intention was to return it to Kiks.ádi of Wrangell, Alaska. The hat had been expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000, and sold for $365,000.
Mike Aak'wtaatseen Hoyt, organizer of the GoFundMe campaign, was resolute in a Facebook post. "This isn't the end of the story," he wrote. "Sotheby's doesn't get to decide that."
He stated that the activists would "keep exploring absolutely every means of bringing the hat home that we can … As long as we hear the hat calling to us to come home, and we keep calling to it in our words and actions, we'll keep moving forward to that moment of return."