April 4, 2013

"The Hopis... regard the objects in the Paris sale, which they call Katsinam, or 'friends,' as imbued with divine spirits."

"They object to calling them 'masks' and say that outsiders who photograph, collect or sell them are committing sacrilege.... The NĂ©ret-Minet auction house... estimates that it will bring in $1 million. Many of the objects are more than 100 years old and carry estimates of $10,000 to $35,000.... 'Sacred items like this should not have a commercial value,' said Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office in Kykotsmovi, Ariz. 'The bottom line is we believe they were taken illegally.'"

22 comments:

Rusty said...

If they wanted to keep them they shouldn't a sold em.
Some of those feathers look suspiciously like pheasant feathers.Pheasant aren't native to N.America. They were introduced sometime in the 30s.
They're auctioning off native american tourist chachkis.

MadisonMan said...

The disparity between the ability of Native Americans to retrieve objects from overseas vs. the ability of foreigners to retrieve their objects from the US is striking.

Jeff Teal said...

Strangely enough a lot of these religious objects were sold Native Americans in an inebriated state.A lot more appropiatef by anthropolgists.

Fernandinande said...

"...imbued with divine spirits.
...committing sacrilege.
Sacred items..."

Aww, lookit the cute superstitions.

Rob said...

The Hopis are on the warpath!

Rusty said...

Jeff Teal said...
Strangely enough a lot of these religious objects were sold Native Americans in an inebriated state.A lot more appropiatef by anthropolgists.

A lot of them weren't. A lot of them were just given away.
You know what happens when you give something away, don't you?

traditionalguy said...

Most of the European, Mid- Eastern and Asian artifacts were taken away at gun point as spoils of war of conquest by the locals, and some came back with the US Army that then went in and died to free the conquered locals.

But the Hopi's witchcraft ceremonial masks belong to the demons in them, who are quite capable of protecting themselves.

EMD said...

I followed an Indian (not Native American) couple through the Crown Jewel display at the Tower of London. Kind of ironic, in a way.

madAsHell said...

"The masks will be auctioned off for..HOW MUCH??"

Hmmmm....How can I get a cut of that??

SteveR said...

Glad to see the Hopis have something besides the Navajos to be upset about.

Jeff Teal said...

You know it is just so nice to see so many learned people allude to ethnic and cultural slurs in this blog.But hey it is only Native Americans.You know thepeople that the US government practised genocide against and attempted to destroy outright the cultures of.No reason for any of them to be sensitive about theft of their heritage right?

edutcher said...

A lot of Chinese and Egyptian objects were just appropriated by the Euros, especially the Limeys, but here there appears room for doubt.

And, just to show them once again how much help the government can be, we have this line, "The tribe is receiving advice from the State and Interior Departments, but each agency says its ability to intervene is limited".

Paul Zrimsek said...

You know it is just so nice to see so many learned people allude to ethnic and cultural slurs in this blog.

The only slur I've spotted in this thread so far was from the one guy who suggested that the Indians sold the masks because they were drunk.

wyo sis said...

I always thought the plural of Hopi is Hopi. I'll have to look into this.

wyo sis said...

According to Merriam Webster online either is correct, but Hopi is first.

SteveR said...

I always thought the plural of Hopi is Hopi. I'll have to look into this.

You are correct but its really the Hopi Tribe which gets converted to Hopis sort of like the American people gets coverted to Americans. Maybe. IDK I done good in Engrish

Jeff Teal said...

Let see Rusty alluded ton"Indian giving".And Rob stated that the Hopi are on the Warpath.I just stated facts considring that the estimated rate of alcoholism amonf reservation dwellers is better than 70 percent.Which Paul would you call a slur and which just an unpleasant truth.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Tony Hillerman starts one of his Jim Chee mysteries thus: a local Navajo objects to an anthropologist digging up an ancient gravesite. Anthropologist ignores him. Soon thereafter, anthropologist receives, at his office at (some Ivy U) a box with a cover letter. The letter explains that the remains in the box were excavated, after careful scientific research, from a gravesite in (some New England location). Guess who's grandfather was in the box?

Jeff Teal said...

Thanks Fred.Hillerman was one of my favorite authors.Iam glad he's gone to a better place but I still his insights.

Jeff Teal said...

Sorry miss his insights

paul a'barge said...

Ah, the NYT ... writes all this in the age of Piss Christ.

Sacred for me but none for thee

chuckR said...

My wife is a serious collector of katsinam, which are the dolls. Selling dolls in now considered OK, but wasn't always. The masks, properly called faces, have never been sold or given. It is possible to get other parts of dancers costumes such as sashes and rattles, but never a face.
The feathers on that one mask do look like pheasant feathers. My wife says its common and acceptable to replace feathers as they get pretty tatty in the long run. God help you if you aren't Native American and want eagle feathers or possess even one - serious federal offense.
When Hopi first started selling katsinam dolls, traditionalists objected. One such was a carver who succumbed to the lure of the money, but he made katsinam that were a mash-up of actual katsinam features. Hence, in his mind, not a real katsinam and OK to sell. The tourists didn't know the difference - today these dolls are quite valuable. A lot of what is sold to tourists is a real mash-up anyway, sometimes made by, the horror, Navahos.