Judge approves sale of Hopi sacred items

The tribe says Katsina dolls can be sold. A doll is typically given to a young girl at a public ceremony as a blessing and part of her education.
The tribe says Katsina dolls can be sold. A doll is typically given to a young girl at a public ceremony as a blessing and part of her education. Laurel Morales

A French judge has allowed the sale of several sacred Hopi artifacts to go ahead next week. 

The Hopi tribe’s lawyer used a French law to argue that it’s illegal to sell masks as commercial art because they’re like tombs containing their ancestors’ spirits.

The masks are so sacred that the tribe doesn’t want them discussed or seen, let alone sold.

The Hopi call them friends and put them on to pray for rain and harmony.

This is the second time the tribe has taken a Paris auction house to court over the issue. And it’s the second time the tribe has lost.

In April a judge ruled that such sales are legal. So an auction house sold about 70 ceremonial items for more than a million dollars, despite objections from the U.S. government.

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