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French judge could block sale of Hopi ‘sacred objects’

PHOENIX — A Paris judge will decide Thursday whether to block the sale of 70 “sacred objects” of Hopi origin by a French auction house.

The sacred objects date back to the 1930s. At least one of the objects was likely stolen by a French citizen who was visiting the Hopi Tribe. Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa said the objects are central to the spirituality of the Hopi and putting a price tag on them is beyond offensive.

“When somebody asked if we would go bid on these articles, we said this isn’t how we do things,” he said. “These have no pricetag for our beliefs.”

About 18,000 members of the Hopi Tribe live in northern Arizona and this is where the sacred objects belong, according to Shingoitewa.

“What is being viewed as auction in France is sacrilege to what the Hopi belief is and this is very disturbing.”

The Hopi prefer to call the items “sacred objects” because terms such as “artifact” as considered highly offensive.