08 April 2015
HARP teams up with the Hopi tribe to denounce the illegal sale of sacred Hopi objects at Drouot
PRESS RELEASE: THE HOLOCAUST ART RESTITUTION PROJECT AND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOPI TRIBE ANNOUNCE A JOINT LAWSUIT FILED IN FRANCE AGAINST A RECENT DECISION BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT REFUSING THE SUSPENSION OF AN AUCTION SALE OF SACRED HOPI “KWAA TSI” HELD AT PARIS’ HOTEL DROUOT ON DECEMBER 15, 2014.
For Immediate Release
In New York, NY: Pierre Ciric (00) 1 212 260 6090, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Washington, DC: email@example.com
In Kykotsmovi, AZ: Marilyn Fredericks, (00) 1 928 734 3107, MFredericks@hopi.nsn.us
Washington, DC & Flagstaff, AZ, USA – April 09, 2015 - The Holocaust Art Restitution Project (“HARP”), based in Washington, DC, chaired by Ori Z. Soltes, and Herman G. Honanie, Chairman of the HOPI Tribe Council, are announcing the joint filing of a lawsuit in France to appeal a recent decision by the French “Conseil des Ventes” (“Board of Auction Sales”), an administrative body in charge of regulating and supervising auction sales on the French market. Although the CVV has the administrative power to suspend sales, it refused to suspend a December 15, 2014 auction sale of sacred “kwaa tsi” owned by the Hopi tribe. The CVV allowed the sale to proceed after a special hearing held in Paris on December 11, 2014, rejecting the arguments put forth by HARP and the Hopi Tribe that title had never vested with subsequent possessors due to the sacred nature of these objects.
Papers were filed with the main Civil Court in Paris called the “Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris” to appeal the denial of HARPs’ request for the administrative suspension of the December 15, 2014 auction sale of sacred Hopi objects, also known as “Friends.”
“The CVV’s position is unsustainable: no adjudication authority can, as the CVV repeatedly did, refuse the most basic access to justice by holding that neither the Hopi tribe as a group, nor the Hopi tribe Chairman as an individual, have any standing to file any cultural claim in France. Last June, in a similar proceeding, the Conseil had held that the Hopi tribe, in fact ANY Indian tribe, has no legal existence or standing as a group or as a recognized nation to pursue any cultural claim in France. In December 2014, the CVV held that the Hopi tribe Chairman, in his individual capacity had no legal standing either. These two decisions close the door to ANY tribal group AND their members to file any cultural claims in France involving auction houses, regardless of title-related merits. Furthermore, this complete denial of access to justice flies in the face of international law principles in favor of all tribes and indigenous peoples, as the French government had endorsed, in the UN General Assembly, the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” said Soltes.
The Hopi Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of American Indians, who live in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi Tribe remains one of the most religiously traditional tribes within the United States.
HARP is a not-for-profit group based in Washington, DC, dedicated to the identification and restitution of looted artworks require detailed research and analysis of public and private archives in North America. HARP has worked for 16 years on the restitution of artworks looted by the Nazi regime.
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/plunderedart, on Twitter: @plunderedart,
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