I probably shouldn’t be posting right now. I have been through some major head shrinkage in the last 48 hours. Usually I have down time in between, like for a week or two, but somehow things got condensed and I am my usual vulnerable self afterwards. But doubly so today.
I have poured out my soul and laid myself bare and worked hard on those things Of Me that need much fixing. That is my life right now. But I can’t speak anymore, I can only cry. I was actually doing ok, not fine, but ok, until I caught an update on something that was of high concern to me earlier this month:
April 9th, 2013
Lawyers acting for Survival International have today filed legal papers in an attempt to stop the sale of sacred objects of the Hopi tribe in a Paris auction house this Friday.
The Hopi tribe of Arizona had previously written to the auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, asking them to cancel the sale on the grounds that the objects were the cultural property of the tribe, and that their public display and sale caused them grave offence. However, the auction house appears intent on proceeding with the sale.
Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber of the firm Skadden, Arps has today obtained permission from a Paris judge to summon the auction house to a court hearing, to take place on April 11 at 10.00 am, to hear Survival’s motion for a suspension of the auction sale, pending a proper examination of the lawfulness of the collection and its sale.
The Hopi tribe has said it is ‘vehemently opposed’ to the auction, and has requested that the objects are returned to them immediately. (source)
My life being such as it is, I lost track of the story but it found me again today of all days. The outcome of the court hearing was not good at all. Not in any way shape or form and that’s when I lost my ability to speak.
April 12th, 2013
A Paris judge today threw out a bid by Survival International to block a controversial auction of sacred objects of Arizona’s Hopi tribe. The judge ruled that ‘in spite of their sacredness to the Hopi these masks are not a representation of any creature, alive or dead.’
The auction house Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou had turned down repeated requests by the tribe to postpone the sale, which will now take place in Paris today. (source)
So they went on ahead and auctioned off close to 70 Hopi sacred objects for $1.2 million.
Here is the kicker. Here is what smashed me into bits.
The director of the auction house insisted that the auction was an homage to the Hopi Tribe and after the ruling said he was concerned about their sadness.
How about I visit this guy’s home, steal his family heirlooms and also anything of religious or spiritual value to him, and run off with the urn of his grandmother’s ashes, sell all that off to the highest bidder and be all concerned for his sadness and just shrug and keep insisting to his face that my actions were an homage to him and his family.
Really dude? That’s how you gonna roll?
And not only that kicker, here’s the other one that smashed my already smashed bits into even more bits.
The Associated Press quoted a collector saying that if it weren’t for the collectors and their interest that people wouldn’t understand anything about the Hopi.
Whatever makes you sleep at night you grave-robbin, culture appropriating white privileged piece of garbage. And the utter arrogance!
How is you having sacred Hopi objects under a glass case, or hanging on your wall, or on your bookshelf inside your home helping me or anyone – or even your damn self understand ONE THING about the Hopi???????
How about you fire up Google and get your learn on. How about you crack open a book about the Hopi and get some understanding going on. How about you fly your flabby white ass out here to Arizona
and return those sacred objects and spend a day or three visiting and getting your learn on at the Hopi Cultural Center. Where, you might actually get to speak to an actual Hopi and gain some actual understanding of who they are.
How about THAT.
Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa said the Hopi people are saddened and disheartened by the ruling.
“It is sad to think that the French will allow the Hopi Tribe to suffer through the same cultural and religious thefts, denigrations and exploitations they experienced in the 1940s,” he said. “Would there be outrage if Holocaust artifacts, Papal heirlooms or Quranic manuscripts were going up for sale on Friday to the highest bidder? I think so.
Given the importance of these ceremonial objects to Hopi religion, you can understand why Hopis regard this – or any sale – as sacrilege, and why we regard an auction not as homage but as a desecration to our religion.” (source)
Yeah. How about THAT too.
The other thing that killed me, was that this:
In the U.S. there are laws that protect against this kind of thing but there is no similar law in France, he said. He added that the Hopi belief that a single person can’t own the sacred objects worked against them.
Mazower said the only way the Hopi Tribe could stop the auction was to prove that the objects belonged to a specific individual. (source)
Nice. Can’t win for losing. Would have to go against who you are culturally and spiritually, conform to the status quo, betray the tenets of your people – then and only then can you get the things back that were stolen from you.
I’m not actually surprised or shocked by all this. I’m just very very very angry and rendered speechless.
The disrespect, pillaging and appropriation of indigenous people and their possessions keeps marching along.