Mexico Issues & Opinions

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

  News &
Issues &
Business &
Health &
Lifestyle &
Travel &
Science &

Survival International Goes to Court to Stop Hopi Sacred Objects Auction

Survival International
go to original
April 9, 2013

Hopi elder James Kootshongsie, who died in 1996. The Hopi are 'vehemently opposed' to the sale of the tribe's sacred objects in a Paris auction house. (Jonathan Mazower/Survival)

Lawyers acting for Survival International have today filed legal papers in an attempt to stop the sale of sacred objects of the Hopi tribe in a Paris auction house this Friday.

The Hopi tribe of Arizona had previously written to the auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, asking them to cancel the sale on the grounds that the objects were the cultural property of the tribe, and that their public display and sale caused them grave offence. However, the auction house appears intent on proceeding with the sale.

Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber of the firm Skadden, Arps has today obtained permission from a Paris judge to summon the auction house to a court hearing, to take place on April 11 at 10.00am, to hear Survival’s motion for a suspension of the auction sale, pending a proper examination of the lawfulness of the collection and its sale.

The Hopi tribe has said it is ‘vehemently opposed’ to the auction, and has requested that the objects are returned to them immediately.

‘The Hopi Tribe must protect the cultural beliefs that we have used for centuries and still continue to use today’, said Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa. ‘We think these sacred objects were stolen from the Hopi Tribe and should be returned to the proper custodians and caretakers, the Kachina chiefs, within their respective Hopi villages.’

Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Tribe’s Cultural Preservation Office, said, ‘The mere fact that a price tag has been placed upon such culturally significant and religious items is beyond offensive. They do not have a market value. Period.’

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said today, ‘It ought to be pretty clear to the auctioneers that the sale of these objects would cause profound hurt and distress to the Hopi people. To the Hopi, these are not museum objects but an intrinsic part of a thriving, living culture, which should be treated with respect. The auction house should think again and cancel the sale.’

The Hopi tribe number around 18,000, living in 12 villages in northeastern Arizona. They call their homeland Hopituskwa.

Download the Hopi’s letter to the auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou (pdf, 205 kb)

  Check out Survival International: Uncontacted Tribes

We invite you to add your charity or supporting organizations' news stories and coming events to PVAngels so we can share them with the world. Do it now!

CHARITY ALERT Vallarta Botanical Garden Needs Your Help

TripAdvisor singled out the Botanical Garden for removal and placed us on our own page in Cabo Corrientes.

Please write and ask TripAdvisor why all other Cabo Corrientes attractions are still on the Puerto Vallarta page while only the Garden was removed.

Click here to see all the details

Meet the Charities

Community Services


Animals & Wildlife

Health Care

Youth & Family


Culture & Recreation

Special Interests

How You Can Help

Use Your Powers for Good

Add Your Favorite Charity

Save a Life - Give Blood


Partners for Change

Meet the Partners

Become a Partner for Change

Stay Connected

Find PVAngels on Facebook Follow PVAngels on Twitter Sign up PVAngels Newsletter RSS Feeds on PVAngels


About PVAngels

Add Your Charity

Add Your News & Events

Locate Yourself on Our Maps

Jobs - Join PVAngels Team

About Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Local News

Local Event Calendar

Puerto Vallarta Videos

Puerto Vallarta Photos

Historic Puerto Vallarta

Local Area Maps

Important Phone Numbers

Craig's List in Puerto Vallarta

News Around Mexico

Mexico Issues & Opinions

Mexico Business News

Mexico Evironmental News

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Mexico Travel & Outdoors

Science & Technology News

Mexico News & Travel Videos

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

m3 • local actions from global awareness