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Hopi tribe gets sacred mask purchased at auction

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A tribal rights organization said Hopi tribal officials have been presented with one of dozens of Native American sacred masks sold during an April auction in France that drew protests.

Survival International spokeswoman Kayla Wieche said attorney Pierre Servan-Schreiber and representatives of Survival International presented the mask to tribal officials and religious leaders in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday.

Servan-Schreiber participated in unsuccessful legal efforts in France to block the April 12 auction of 70 sacred objects, and he purchased one of the masks to give back to the Hopis.

Wieche said Servan-Schreiber purchased the mask for 6,000 euros ($7,800).

Advocates for the Hopi tribe had argued in court in Paris that the masks have special status and are not art -- they represent their dead ancestors' spirits.

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