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Mask returned to Arizona’s Hopis

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Tribal rights organisation Survival has returned a ceremonial mask to Arizona’s Hopi tribe after it was sold at auction in Paris. The artefact was one of around 70 of the brightly coloured “Kachina” visages and headdresses auctioned for more than €900,000 ($1.2 million) in April after a legal challenge failed. The auction outraged members of the 18,000-strong Hopi tribe, who say the artefacts are blessed with divine spirits. A second mask, currently owned by the family of the late French singer Joe Dassin, would also be returned to the Hopi later in the year, Survival said. The sale of sacred Native American artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990 — legislation which has allowed the Hopi tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past — but the law does not extend to sales overseas. — AFP


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