The Annenberg Foundation announced that it has purchased 24 Hopi and San Carlos Apache artifacts that went up for auction this week in Paris, with the intention of returning the priceless pieces to the tribes.
The US embassy in Paris and the organization for indigenous peoples’ rights Survival International had attempted to delay the auction, but their pleas failed to sway French authorities. That’s when the Annenberg Foundation, a Los Angeles-based institution, stepped in, purchasing the artifacts for a total of $530,000, according to a press release on their website. “Twenty-one of these items will be returned to the Hopi Nation in Arizona, and three artifacts belonging to the San Carlos Apache will be returned to the Apache tribe,” the release said.
The release includes a statement from Hopi cultural leader Sam Tenakhongva which reads:
“This is a great day for not only the Hopi people but for the international community as a whole. The Annenberg Foundation set an example today of how to do the right thing. Our hope is that this act sets an example for others that items of significant cultural and religious value can only be properly cared for by those vested with the proper knowledge and responsibility. They simply cannot be put up for sale.”