A Parisian auction house plans to sell sacred Hopi katsinam (commonly referred to as "masks" by non-Natives) despite objections from the tribe.
In April, many Natives were shocked to see a similar auction, described by witnesses as "surreal and heartbreaking", take place in Paris despite efforts through a few different channels to stop it. The international incident drew criticism, condemnation, and heaps of bad PR for auction house Néret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou. Although the furor wasn't sufficient to convince the auction house to cancel its plans, auctioneer Gilles Néret-Minet told ICTMN that "This is the only and last big sale of Hopi masks from the USA that will take place in Europe, ever."
Sadly, Néret-Minet's statement is looking like wishful thinking. Another Parisian auction house, EVE, is planning to put 25 katsinam on the block in a two-day sale happening December 9 and 11.
Plans are already in motion to protest and challenge the sale, with Survival International publicizing the event and lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber again signed on to argue that it should be stopped. He will go before a French judge on Tuesday, December 3, to make the case against the auction.
Last time around, Servan-Schreiber's efforts failed to delay or stop the sale. Whether the Hopi can expect a different outcome this time remains to be seen.
Catalog (warning: contains photographs of the katsinam) at auctioneve.com: Art Amerindien