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Controversial Auction in Paris Might Be Halted

Posted: Apr. 24th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Hopi mask
Antoine Mercier/Dan Graphiste

The Native American Hopi tribe is at arms over a collection of sacred masks that are slated to go up for auction in Paris, which were estimated to bring in a cool $1 million. US and French officials are currently investigating the legality of the auction and, for now, it is on hold until the situation can get straightened out.

An auction of sacred Native American artifacts scheduled for Friday in Paris is stirring up controversy on both sides of the Atlantic

" — some more than 100 years old — will go on the block at the Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction house, which estimates the sale will bring in about $1 million, according to .

But members of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona say the pieces should not be sold and instead should be returned to Hopi villages. They've asked U.S. officials to intervene.

Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, director of the in Kykotsmovi, Ariz., told The Times: "Sacred items like this should not have a commercial value. The bottom line is we believe they were taken illegally."

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