Paris judge sets hearing on auction of Hopi items

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A judge in Paris has agreed to hold a hearing Thursday on the sale of dozens of items central to an Arizona tribe's religious practices.

The auction house, Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, plans a Friday sale of a collection it describes as 70 kachina masks of the Hopi Indians.

The Hopi Tribe contends the items were stolen and has asked the auction house to prove otherwise. The tribe says the items are communal property and no one other than a Hopi has the right to possess them.

A lawyer representing the Hopi Tribe has filed a motion in a Paris court to suspend the auction to determine the origin of the items.

The auction house didn't respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.