Annenberg Foundation and Hopi Nation Announce Return of Sacred Artifacts to Native American Hopi Tribe

Related: Annenberg Foundation, Hopi Nation

LOS ANGELES -- Annenberg Foundation Vice President and Director Gregory Annenberg Weingarten today announced that the Annenberg Foundation has purchased 24 sacred Native American artifacts from an auction house in Paris totaling $530 thousand for the sole purpose of returning them to their rightful owners. Twenty-one of these items will be returned to the Hopi Nation in Arizona, and three artifacts belonging to the San Carlos Apache will be returned to the Apache tribe.

"This is a great day for not only the Hopi people but for the international community as a whole," said Sam Tenakhongva, a Hopi cultural leader. "The Annenberg Foundation set an example today of how to do the right thing. Our hope is that this act sets an example for others that items of significant cultural and religious value can only be properly cared for by those vested with the proper knowledge and responsibility. They simply cannot be put up for sale."

The positive development came after efforts, including those of the U.S. Embassy, were made to delay the auction of the Hopi and San Carlos Apache items. Acting on behalf of the advocacy group Survival International and the Hopi, attorney Pierre Servan-Schreiber went last week before a judge in Paris in an attempt to have the sale of the Hopi items blocked, but on December 6, the court ruled against him. That's when Weingarten made the unprecedented decision to intervene.

"As an artist, I was struck by the awesome power and beauty of these objects," said Weingarten. "But these are not trophies to have on one's mantel; they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that they will be returned home to their rightful owners, the Native Americans."

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act gives federally recognized Native American tribes a way to reclaim funerary objects and ceremonial items from federal agencies and museums in the United States. The law, however, does not apply to items held internationally.

In April of this year, the French firm Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auctioned 70 artifacts for 930,000, ignoring pleas and protests around the world. Servan-Schreiber, who acted for Survival International and the Hopi in that case as well, bought and returned a sacred Hopi artifact to the tribe last summer. He also bought on Monday one artifact for 13,000 and intends to return it to the Hopi.




More On: Annenberg Foundation, Hopi Nation



Comment & Share

Related Links
Annenberg Space for Photography Announces 'Country: Portraits of an American Sound', 5/31Annenberg Space for Photography Announces 'Country: Portraits of an American Sound', 5/31
March 05, 2014
The Board Of Trustees Of The Museum Of Contemporary Art Raises Endowment To Over $100 MillionThe Board Of Trustees Of The Museum Of Contemporary Art Raises Endowment To Over $100 Million
January 07, 2014
Annenberg Foundation and Hopi Nation Announce Return of Sacred Artifacts to Native American Hopi TribeAnnenberg Foundation and Hopi Nation Announce Return of Sacred Artifacts to Native American Hopi Tribe
December 10, 2013
Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures Set for the MoMA October 18, 2013 - November 03, 2013Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures Set for the MoMA October 18, 2013 - November 03, 2013
September 27, 2013


About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts

The Bush Dilemma Has The Art World's Panties in a BunchThe Bush Dilemma Has The Art World's Panties in a Bunch

Subscribe for News & Specials

The Bush Dilemma Has The Art World's Panties in a BunchThe Bush Dilemma Has The Art World's Panties in a Bunch
by Barry Kostrinsky