US Interior secretary troubled by auction of sacred items

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2016 4:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she's troubled by the auctioning off of objects held sacred by Native American tribes and she's calling on the French government to help find a path toward repatriating the items.

Jewell made the statement Thursday as Paris' EVE auction house prepares to put up for bid hundreds of religious items and art pieces from the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Included are a Plains war shirt made with hair from human scalps, sacred Hopi objects that resemble masks and a ceremonial shield from New Mexico's Acoma Pueblo.

Native American leaders have protested next week's planned auction and members of New Mexico's congressional delegation have voiced concerns.

Jewell has directed the Interior Department to work with tribes and other agencies to review the circumstances by which sacred objects and other important tribal patrimony are making their way into foreign markets.