An Arizona tribe is asking a Paris auction house to cancel its upcoming sale of dozens of items central to the tribe's religious practices.
The auction house, Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, describes the collection as Katsina masks of the Hopi Indians of Arizona. The items are scheduled to be auctioned April 12.
To the Hopis, the items are living beings called Katsina friends that emerge from the earth and sky to connect people to the spiritual world and their ancestors. Every Hopi tribal member gets initiated into the Katsina society as a rite of passage.
The Hopi Tribe has the backing of at least two Arizona museums in asking that the items be returned to their original homes in the American Southwest.
The items date to the late 19th century and early 20th century.
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