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Despite protests, a Paris auction brought in $1.6 million for the sale of a collection of Native American artifacts, including several Katsinam masks considered sacred by the Hopi tribe of Northern Arizona.
Those opposed to the auction say the items are protected from sale by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, but a France judge last week ruled that the auction could go ahead in a case brought against the auction house by the Hopi tribe. The U.S. Embassy in France also requested a delay in the auction to allow the Hopi and San Carlos Apache tribes to come to France and claim the items. The judge said that France does not possess laws to protect indigenous peoples, though France is a signatory of the UNESCO treaty.