Not for Sale | We are Still Here!

Skinner Auctioneers in Boston has pulled seven lots from its upcoming American Indian and Ethnographic Art sale following objections from Native American organizations. Among the items were 19th-century artifacts including two separate Bella Coola shaman’s bird rattles (est $5,000-$7,000 and $6,000-$8,000), a Tlingit male shaman’s mask (est $30,000-$40,000), and a Tlingit female shaman’s mask (est $30,000-$50,000), sold by the Massachusetts Medford Public Library. The library acquired the artifacts in 1880 from James G. Swan, an ethnographer and one of the earliest Indigenous art collectors for the Smithsonian Institution (a merry band of thieves). The institution has been criticized for not consulting Indigenous groups about the artifacts prior to the sale. [TAN]

FUMING NOW! This kills me.  Tlingit shaman’s spirit figure? How much is out there sitting in drawers in dusty museums or decrepit libraries or moldy historical societies who don't even KNOW what they have or how these objects are LIVING THINGS! Who is running the Massachusetts Medford Public Library? What are they doing with these cultural sacred items anyway? THEFT, plain and simple. I am not shocked because we indigenous people are considered dead cultures.



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