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View Diary: Please Help Protest: Hopi "Friends" for sale in France (18 comments)

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  •  Some laws being violated (4+ / 0-)

    Auctioneer Gilles Néret-Minet has dismissed Hopi claims because “they rely on an article of the Hopi constitution which is not recognized in France because it is not a State."

    Actually, Hopi is a Nation/State, under US law.  It is a domestic nation. So much so that federal Indian law is very clear that Indian nations have a nation to nation status with the USA.

    M. Neret-Minet is not versed in constitutional law.

    From Tim McKeowan's article:
    Monsieur Néret-Minet might be interested in knowing that a number of US Federal laws may also be implicated in the proposed sale. Taking the auction house representative’s statement that the items were “legally” bought in the US on its face, we can assume that none of the masks – many of which have been identified by the Hopi Tribe as objects of ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the tribe and which could not be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual – were obtained after 1990 from tribal lands or from a museum receiving Federal funds. Section 4 of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) made the sale, purchase, use for profit, or transport for sale or profit of any such cultural items a criminal offense. To date, 13 individuals have been convicted of trafficking items similar to those being offered at the Paris auction. Most were fined and the cultural items confiscated and repatriated. Several were also imprisoned. The list of convicted criminals includes mostly tribal members, intermediaries, and dealers in the American Southwest. Missing are the collectors who fuel the market, though several have stepped forward, including one reportedly connected to the Hollywood community, to aid the law enforcement and avoid prosecution themselves.

    Taking the auction house representative’s statement that the items were legally bought in the US on its face, we can also assume that none of the masks over 100 years old were sold, purchased, exchanged, transported, received, or offered for sale, purchase, or exchange in interstate or foreign commerce after 1979 in violation of any provision, rule, regulation, ordinance, or permit in effect under Federal, State, local, or tribal law. Section 6 of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act makes such transactions a criminal offense.

    Finally, to accept the conclusion that the masks were legally acquired under US law, we must assume that none of the masks were originally purchased or received from an Indian in Indian Country between 1796 and 1953. Section 9 of the Act to Regulate Trade and Intercourse with the Indian Tribes and to Preserve Peace on the Frontiers (and its successors) made such transactions involving articles of clothing a criminal offense. A court explained in 1911 that “the whole purpose [of section 9] was to prevent the Indian from improvidently parting with his indispensable articles, either to the government or to anyone else.”

    “Right of possession” is a key concept in US property law, as American museums, auction houses, and collectors are well aware. NAGPRA defines the term to mean possession obtained with the voluntary consent of an individual or group that had authority of alienation. However, the importance of right of possession, particularly as it applies to commerce with Indian tribes and their members, predates NAGPRA by over 150 years. An 1834 Federal law that remains on the books today clarifies that in disputes over the right of property involving an Indian and a non-Indian, the burden of proof rests on the non-Indian whenever the Indian makes out a presumption of title in himself from the fact of previous possession or ownership.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

    by marthature on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:03:25 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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