Hopi artifacts back home with Arizona tribe

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A Hopi official says 24 ceremonial items purchased last year at a French auction house have been returned to the tribe in northern Arizona.

Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, says representatives from the Annenberg Foundation brought them Friday afternoon to the village of Walpi on Hopi land.

He says a cultural ceremony was held to welcome back the Kachina friends.

The Los Angeles-based charity also separately returned artifacts to the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The foundation bought the masks last December at a contested auction in Paris.

The tribes argued the artifacts represent their ancestors' spirits and shouldn't be sold.

A bid by the tribes' lawyers to get a French court to block the auction failed after a judge ruled the sale was legal in France.

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