This following article is entirely in the words of the authors of the respective emails.
"These moccasins retain their shape because
they were on the feet of the deceased."
From: Deb Huglin
Toye Heape Tn Commission of Indian Affairs
Chattanooga InterTribal Association
Repatriation issue with Dawsons Auction House offering May 20, 2000
Date: Monday, May 22, 2000 2:20 PM
I believe you will find that the two sets of moccasins specifically referenced in the e.mail I included you in regarding Dawson's Auctioneers are of Tribes which were displaced from around the Tennessee area to Oklahoma.
The moccasin design and the motifs suggest the people who created them were either displaced Tribal members incarcerated in Oklahoma in the Prisoner of War camps or their offspring.
The clear reference to teepees or groups of houses in an encampment design and the clear reference to stars and to the Thunderbird are directly related to the beliefs in the Spirit Walk to the encampments in the heavens where the Spirit goes after death of the body.
The use of white background on these particular moccasins suggests that there has already been a Mission influence in which white is a concept for the purity of the Walk in these moccasins, and the lack of wear or natural contouring to the feet of the owners from living use is missing.
The careful and beautiful work involved in their creation are proof that the people for whom they were intended were loved ones. These is no reason or excuse for such items to be in any collection anywhere. The fact that they are in a "collection" brimming with other items which could only have been acquired from the dead is a shocking reminder that there is still tolerance (or denial) of the mass human and ethnic genocide, which is continuing now into the sixth century.
As one interested journalist said, "where are the tattooed lampshades?"
EDITOR'S NOTE: I am quoting Deb who is quoting me. END NOTE.
This is where it needs to stop. Even though the majority of the 230 lots Dawson was offering through icollector (and a few more through Sotheby's) are predominantly artifacts which could only have come from prisoner of war camps, the recently dead in skirmishes and massacres (for instance the single bear hide man's legging, a general rule of thumb for perpetrators to take just the non-bloodstained clothing and artifacts from war and massacre scenes) and from burials (as is the case with the Spirit Walking moccasins which were part of funerary attire of the deceased).
Your attention to this issue is vital in the end to such offerings of war booty and grave goods for monetary gain or for (and from) "collections. This particular auction and it's offerings is just like taking the personal effects of those killed at Dachau and offering them for sale as a "collection" to the public and private sector.
It doesn't matter how long any of these items have been in the possession of any "collector", the nature of their acquisition is genocidal, immoral, unethical, and against the United Nations terms which I included in the primary e.mail.
Your support of the work to end such gross and flagrant disregard of local, state, federal and international laws regarding the war crimes and genocide of the Indian Wars in the Americas is greatly appreciated.
Before the Trail of Tears?
Lot 130: An unusual metal twin-bowl effigy pipe; 23"l
Dear Debbie Mui,
I am enclosing a link and a copy of a picture of one of the many items of the Oklahoma collection offered by Dawson which is neither 20th century nor plains. The title on it indicates that the people at Dawson knew full well that this unusual pipe had nothing to do with either the 20th century or the Plains.
Rather it is likely to have been carried by one of the Cherokee or other Eastern Tribal members who were forced into displacement in Oklahoma or other areas by the U.S. government and it's genocidal war policies.
The earliest enforced march was in the 1830's, and this Pipe is likely to go back to the earliest colonial exchanges between the Cherokee and the settlers. In Virginia there were many foundries that could and would have produced Sacred objects for their family and friends in the community (if this item is actually a cast Pipe).
This particular Pipe is likely to be between 200 and 400 years old, and not something anyone who had carried it to Plains during their survival the Trail of Tears or their progeny would have parted with, especially to any white individuals or groups.
The tactic of the Dawson company not to post the picture of this and other questionable items until the day of the auction on Icollect and in their auction house shows that they were attempting to misrepresent the nature of the items for sale.
Also, the pretense by the Dawson Company that Pipes, Rattles, Drums and other tools of Religious or Spiritual practices of the indigenous Americans stopped at the turn of the 20th century is beyond ridiculous. The only way that would have occurred is if everyone was murdered in the Indian Wars and became conveniently extinct.
Fortunately, that idea and the people who attempted to perpetrate it has (for the most part) been dissipated. The obvious racist and religious intolerance displayed in this matter by the Dawson Auction house and the heirs to this frightful collection sets new precedence in unacceptable behavior in business and public dealings.
Is that something Sotheby's has in mind to align itself with after years of careful business and credibility in these matters? I for one hope not.
I respectfully request that Sotheby's continue it's long standing policy of truthful and compassionate working with antiquities, and reject the auctioning of any items for either Dawson or the "collection of Native American Art".
This is not a small matter at this time, and your quick reply will alleviate misgivings by the general population, the Tribes and the specialists in the world of antiquities as to the nature and intentions of Sotheby's fundamental business policy toward stolen property or pieces amassed through genocide or war.
Deb Huglin, Repatriationist
Sothebys Support wrote:
Please include the following line in all replies. Tracking number: NT20000522_0000000560
Dear Ms. Huglin:
Thank you for your feedback. I will forward your concerns directly to Dawson's Auction House so that they may respond to you directly. I have also forward your concerns to our corporate office for review.
Again, Ms. Huglin we value your concerns and appreciate your feedback. We will keep you updated as to the progress of these issues.
Debbie A. Mui
SOTHEYBS.COM Customer Service
Mark Millea wrote:
Dear Ms. Huglin,
We were greatly concerned at the contents of your email. We take very seriously our legal obligations in this area. Thus, we promptly investigated your allegations regarding the items of property to which you refer in your email (the Property).
For your information and as background, the Property was part of a private collection formed in the Mid West, during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The collector recently died and the estate decided to sell the collection. The items date from the 20th Century and were not used for religious or ceremonial purposes.
We assume the two federal laws to which you refer and which you allege have been broken are: the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) and the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 (CCPIA). Given the ownership history of the collection, we respectfully disagree with your assertion that any federal law has been broken. Specifically, NAGPRA does not apply to privately owned property but only to property owned by museums and other public institutions receiving federal funding. As this collection has been in a private collection since at the latest the 1940s, the Property is not within the scope of NAPGRA.
The CCPIA precludes, under certain circumstances, the importation into the U.S. (i) of items stolen from a museum or other public institution or (ii) of items which are the subject of special import restrictions imposed by the U.S. government. The earliest import restrictions imposed pursuant to the CCPIA were entered in 1987 are not retroactive. Thus, as this collection has been in the U.S. for at least 50 years, the CCPIA is similarly inapplicable in this instance.
We hope we have addressed your concerns. If you have further facts or
information that you believe we should consider, we would be happy to do so.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
Kenneth R. Dawson
I generally do not ask for specific assistance on repatriation issues. I trust you all to know your own abilities and resources and to handle the information on any and all issues in your own ways.
The current situation with the Dawson Auction house offering up the war and genocide booty of a "Collector" from Oklahoma who recently died and left their heirs this "collection" defies even the worst auction situations of the past twenty years.
The obvious factors here are that the heirs and the participating members of the auction house figured among themselves that they are "free" to do whatever they please with whatever they have in their possession in the way of marketing and selling items from this unsavory legacy.
This is simply not realistic, and unless we all do something about it, people will assume they can also participate in such activities in which artifacts become "Native American Art" for sale. Granted, the laws which govern these kinds of things are skimpy at best, the Untied Nations international laws which have been signed by many countries since being put into place after the nazi genocidal practices cover "collections" such as this.
It is the enforcement of the community rather than some policing force that makes the difference here. Look to the success of the Jewish population in such matters world-wide and know that there is no doubt that enforcement and cultural and socially acceptability are at hand!
The main thing that mark from Dawson Auction is attempting to project to make the sales of these artifacts legitimate, is the odd notion that Pipes, Rattles, Pipe Stems, Medicine Bags and objects, Living Tree Masks, Kachinas and all other items used in American Indian Religious and Spiritual practices were not actually in use after the dawn of the twentieth Century.
I find that odd, because I use mine (some inherited during the 20th century,) nearly daily, and I suspect you do as well.
What is needed here is a show of reality. It doesn't matter if it is through e.mail, phone calls, fax, or the mail systems, the Dawson Auction House and it's associates (icollector and Sotheby's) needs to see clearly that not only have the items they have been selling are still in use, but the ones from their "collection" are known to be missing from personal effects of family and community members.
Also, the items for sale in this and the Sotheby auction are not all from the twentieth century as the Dawson Auction House would lead people to believe.
I suggest that letters and messages which clearly indicate that these items in the "collection" would have been in continuous use from the 1800's through today and into the future if they ahd not been taken from the indigenous Americans who had them as their treasured possessions by this "collector" or their associates.
I also suggest that you take pictures of yourselves and family and friends in your communities using Pipes and Rattles and Drums and Living Tree Masks and Kachinas and all the other items this "collection" presented as antiquated and disassociated objects from a distant past. These people are too far removed from the realities of daily life to have a personal understanding that they are very much in the wrong, and that no one living among us is extinct.
On one hand, I would personally like to get tough with these people who are making themselves into perpetrators of continued genocidal practices against the AMerican Indian.
On the other hand, without expressing the true nature of the continuous use of these things they have turned into a "collection", and the vitality of their meaning in the communities and among individuals who are closely related to them, there will never be any long term victories.
All that other stuff has been attempted over the past 500 years, and it simply hasn't worked. Together we can make use of the advancements in communication that link all our communities to make sure year 501 is where the genocide (cultural and ethnic) stops.
Email: Mark Millea
Dawsons Auction House - American Indian Art Auction
(Start: 20 May 2000 11:00, Finish: 20 May 2000 at the icollector site and their auction house.)
Dawson's Auctioneers and Appraisers
128 American Road ,
Morris Plains, New Jersey, 07950, USA
Sale No: - Auction ID: a000520
Tel: (973) 984-6900
Fax: (973) 984-6956
Debbie A. Mui Sothebys Auctions
Email: Client Services Sothebys Support
(Still listing items for sale from the Dawson Offering of the Oklahoma "collection", they can become informed and still withdraw from participation of their sales of this "collection" for Dawson Auction, you can personally influence them.)
Interactive Collector Limited (listed and middleman the Dawson sales of much of the Oklahoma "collection", they pretty much ignored all information about the nature of the "collection" and items for sale through their service, they are complicit with Dawson Auction and the heirs that are involved.)
Email to Interactive Collector Limited: Malgosia Blonska
|American Indian Religious Freedom Act|
|Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979|
|Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act|
|United Nations Convention on Genocide|
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