Photo: Survival International
Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber met two katsina priests when a katsina was returned to the Hopi in July 2013

Sad But True: Another Hopi Katsinam Auction Planned in Paris


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 Art Amerindien

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



chahta ohoyo's picture
chahta ohoyo
Submitted by chahta ohoyo on
first of all, i believe in all things sacred secondly, the masks and kachinas are representations of the one is 'selling' spirituality if this is wrong, then, indeed, the selling of kachinas, masks, rattles, medicine bundles, etc, no matter where it has occurred is just as wrong why not take this up with ebay sellers who have acquired these same things and offer them for sale to the public at large wrong is wrong...there are NO degrees of it...this is a OLD argument going back to the first time a white mans hand picked up a kachina or mask and managed to manipulate it out of the hands of its keeper

Whats the big deal's picture
Whats the big deal
Submitted by Whats the big deal on
Whats the big deal about, were these not pagan items anyways? Do the Hopi people still practice this or have they come to Christianity? If they are Christian people then there should be no objection, if these have some power from God then a way will be made for these to not be sold, if not then sell them, they are of a religion from the past, live today, save people from alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment, quit making people who are militant and only live in the past

hammertime's picture
Submitted by hammertime on
it makes me curious about the people that bought the artifacts in Paris way back in april.... I wonder how they are doing now that they have bought those masks?? Are they having good health, good luck, happiness and prosperity.... or have things taken a turn for the worse for them...??? I would like to know..