The Latest: US official says tribal items auction 'wrong'

AP News
Posted: May 24, 2016 8:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. tribes' protest of a plan by a Paris auction house to sell Native American ceremonial objects (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

A U.S. Department of State official says the auctions that put up Native American ceremonial and cultural items for bidding in Paris are "fundamentally wrong."

The comments from Mark Taplin, an official within the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, came during an emergency meeting held Tuesday afternoon in Washington to address a looming auction set for Monday in Paris.

Officials say an Acoma Pueblo shield, Plains warshirt and numerous other cultural items are set to be sold May 30.

In recent years, the auctions have presented a diplomatic issue between the United States and France, where U.S. laws prohibiting the sale of Native American ceremonial items hold no weight.

Acoma Pueblo and other tribes have issued appeals to federal officials and the French to halt the auction, though similar attempts in the past have not stopped the sales.


4:15 a.m.

Federal officials and tribal leaders are holding what they describe as an emergency meeting to protest plans by a French auction house to sell artifacts that the tribes consider sacred.

The auctions have been a sticking point between U.S. and French officials for several years. The planned May 30 auction is particularly galling, officials say, because one of the items up for sale is a shirt made of human scalps.

The meeting will be held Tuesday afternoon at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Members of the Hoopa Valley and Pueblo tribes, as well as representatives from the State and Interior departments are scheduled to participate and discuss efforts to stop the auction.