|Photo by Christine Prat|
NEW! Watch video: http://indigenousresistancejuly2014.blogspot.com/2014/07/video-klee-benally-challenges-genocide.html
PARIS -- Klee Benally, who was very shocked to hear about another scandalous sale of sacred artifacts (the 4th in a year), moreover including Diné (Navajo) objects, this time, decided to go to the office of the firm EVE (9 rue Milton, 75009, Paris), to deliver a letter of protest. A small group of people – from Idle No More France and CSIA, among others – decided to join him.
When we arrived in the street, the very few protesters were standing at a corner, at some distance of the office. A young man who had decided to support the action told us that he had tried to go into the office, as an individual asking for information, but that the young woman in charge had forbidden him to get in and locked the door.
Shortly after, she came out for her lunch break and stopped to tell the protesters that she had been extremely intimidated and scared by that young man (who died his hair red and did not have the look of her usual customers, but was not intimidating in anyway – See the video, which is coming), obviously trying to prepare for a law suit.
Then she called her boss, Master Alan Leroy, to inform him of the situation. In between, the protesters started to stick posters on the windows of the office. Then Master Leroy himself arrived, tore the posters, shouting that it was damaging his building (they were just stuck with tape and he could tear them without any effort).
Klee tried to explain to him that he just wanted to deliver a letter and discuss the matter peacefully. But Mr. Leroy started with denying the genocide of Native Americans, claimed that the artifacts had been sold by the Natives themselves, although he did not have a document proving it, but claimed that ‘everybody knew that Native Americans never had papers’! He claimed that nobody had any right to challenge his rights to sell sacred objects, as ‘all the courts have ruled for the 4th time that the sale was legal’. As a matter of fact, ‘all the courts’ are the court of the neighborhood, with that one Madame Judge who has no knowledge what so ever of Native Americans and just believes that Constitutions protect private property and the right to trade.
Mr. Leroy also referred abundantly to the right of private property, guaranteed by French and American Law. He also claimed that those artifacts were preserved thanks to white collectors (suggesting that Natives are not able to preserve their inheritance) and that they would not exist anymore if they had not been sold to while people.
Then, at a point, he claimed that the masks were not sacred but had been made specially for tourists, which amounts to admit that he is cheating on his customers, as they certainly don’t go to an auction to buy tourist junk.
UPDATE: Notes from supporters in Paris: Alan Leroy in Paris (on right in photo) denies the genocide of Native Americans – there is a French law against genocide denial – he claims that the masks he sells were made for tourists – which means that he is cheating on his customers, as objects made for tourists are sold at tourist shops, not at auctions – he claims that the Hopi have to thank the White invaders for bringing medical knowledge to them – the demonstrators replied that they first brought the deadly diseases. Now of course they are destroying the land where Native Americans used to pick their healing plants, and the air they breathe."
In the news:
New York Times " ... The French court ruled — as it had done in December 2012, April 2013 and December 2013 — that there were no grounds to halt the sale because the items were acquired legally by a French collector during his 30-year residence in the United States."