French auction house defends upcoming sale of sacred items

Historic Route 66
This November 2014 photo provided by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association shows the view from the road to Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, N.M. The pueblo is one of more than two dozen tribal communities along historic Route 66. (Lisa Snell/American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The Paris auction house criticized for putting up for bid objects held sacred by Native American tribes is defending its upcoming sale.

EVE auction house director Alain Leroy said Friday all the items are of legal trade in both the U.S. and France and that tribes will have an opportunity through the auction process to acquire their past.

Monday’s planned auction will feature hundreds of religious items and art pieces from the Americas, Africa and Asia. Included is a ceremonial shield from a Native American tribe in New Mexico.

Acoma Pueblo Gov. Kurt Riley argues it’s illegal to trade and sell Native American items considered sacred or used in worship. He has reached out to the French people through an open letter in an effort to halt such auctions.

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