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Museums join Hopi tribe to oppose Paris artifact sale

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Two museums in the southwestern US state of Arizona have joined an effort by Hopi cultural officials to halt the sale of sacred Hopi kachina artifacts at a Paris auction house next week.

In messages on social media, the Heard Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona said the scheduled April 12 sale by Neret-Minet Tessier and Sarrou has triggered outrage within the indigenous Hopi community.

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On its website, the French auctioneers say it will be putting 70 kachina visages — mask-like representations of spirit characters used in Hopi ceremonies — on the block.

One of them is valued as high as 50,000 euros (more than $64,000).

Robert Bruenig, director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, appealed for the objects’ return to Arizona, in an open letter to the auctioneers posted on the Flagstaff institution’s Facebook page.

“The proposed sale of these katsina friends, and the international exposure of them, is causing outrage, sadness and stress among members of the affected tribes,” he said, using an alternative spelling for kachina.

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“For them, katsina friends are living beings. … To be displayed disembodied in your catalog, and on the Internet, is sacrilegious and offensive,” he said.

The Heard Museum in Phoenix, in a statement it posted on Facebook, said the “sale of items of significant religious and cultural importance to the Hopi tribe” was a matter of “extreme concern” for its American Indian staff.

Last month the director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, urged Neret-Minet to cancel the auction and “begin respectful discussions to return them back to the tribe.”

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Kachina spirit figures are fundamental to the faith and heritage of the more than 18,000 members of the federally recognized Hopi tribe who mainly live in northeastern Arizona.

The Arizona Republic newspaper said it was unclear when or how the items were acquired, but it noted that in past US cases, some artifacts have been secretly sold to collectors by tribe members for a profit.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘He’s empty’: Psychiatrist warns Trump is in a ‘psychotic-like state’

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Dr. Lance Dodes warned that things were going to get worse under President Donald Trump in 2017. That's precisely what happened.

"Is that what we're seeing this week?" MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell ased the psychiatrist.

"Absolutely. Donald Trump, because he has a fundamental need to be all-powerful and all loved, can't stand challenges," Dr. Dodes said. "And the nature of democracy is that it challenges people. We have more than one opinion. So the more -- it was predictable once he got into a position where people would challenge him, there are two parties, he would become more unhinged.

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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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I think Trump’s people sit around ‘thinking up new ways to be cruel’: Senator

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On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) tore into the Trump administration for its treatment of migrant children, as yet more reports come in of children being denied basic services in squalid conditions, and as Trump considers ways to get around the federal consent decree placing limits on how long they can be detained.

"We already know from so many child specialists that detaining children in these kinds of facilities does irreparable damage to them," said Hirono. "There are alternatives to family detention this administration could care less about ... the only way to get around the consent agreement is by getting around it by proposing or having this rule, which will be immediately challenged. They want to detain families indefinitely, children indefinitely, held in situations that do them absolutely no good when there are alternatives."

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