Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 4, 2024

Klee Benally Challenges Genocide Denier in Paris, Auctioning Dine' and Hopi Sacred Items in 2014

Klee Benally in Paris. Photo by Christine Prat

Saturday, July 12, 2014

VIDEO Klee Benally challenges genocide denier in Paris auctioning Dine' and Hopi sacred items

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Video by Christine Prat
Chilling video of genocide denier in Paris who is auctioning off sacred items of Hopi and Navajos

A photo of some of us protesting at the auction office. Photo by J. Bach

Article by Brenda Norrell

Exclusive video
Coverage in French by Christine Prat in France

PARIS -- The EVE Auction in Paris continued the auction of Hopi and Navajo sacred items for the fourth year on June 27, 2014. This video reveals the genocide denier responsible for auctioning off sacred items of Hopi and Navajo. As Alan Leroy rips the posters from the wall, Klee Benally, Dine', tells the profiteer he is committing genocide.

Benally challenges the auctions.

Responding with racism and hostility, Leroy tells Benally, "You were never killed by anybody."

Benally says the items were stolen. "The burden of proof is on you. You are committing cultural genocide."

Benally says these cultural items would never be sold. He points out that the traditional medicine people say these items must be returned.

"We are not killing anybody," Leroy said. Further, Leroy insults Navajos.

"All cultural properties are up for sale in all religions," says Leroy.

Benally said, "These things were stolen, they were not sold."

Benally delivered the following letter to the Eve Auction in Paris.

Eve Auction Paris: Cease Auctioning Indigenous Sacred Cultural Property

To whom it may concern,

Eve must immediately cease auctioning any and all indigenous sacred cultural property.

Eve perpetuates cultural genocide each time an auction of indigenous history and identity occurs. We can only assume that these sacred indigenous properties are stolen or attained through duplicity without free prior or informed consent.

Eve must immediately enter into meaningful consultation with impacted indigenous nations regarding any and all past and future auctions of sacred cultural properties and work to immediately return all such sacred cultural properties.

Eve must also remove any and all published pictures in digital format or print of such sacred cultural properties, specifically those named as "masks."

Auctions of this nature would not be acceptable were it of sacred cultural properties from the Vatican, Mecca, or any other established religious or cultural ways of life.

Further, these auctions create a market for indigenous sacred cultural property which further endangers our threatened ways of life.

These auctions of cultural genocide must stop now!

Klee Benally, Diné - Flagstaff, Arizona & Forest Lake Chapter
Sylvain Duez-Alesandrini - CSIA - Nitassinan
Idle No More France

Supporters who were present in Paris, sent this report to Indigenous Resistance:

Master Alan Leroy 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, we could add that they are destroying the land where Native Americans used to pick their healing plants, and the air they breathe, etc.

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 any way – See the video), obviously trying to prepare for a lawsuit.

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, and 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 whatsoever 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 white people. Then, at a point, he claimed that the masks were not sacred but had been made specially for tourists, which amounts to admitting that he is cheating on his customers, as they certainly don’t go to an auction to buy tourist junk.

The Eve Auction catalog of sacred items is online. Please be advised that this link is posted as evidence. The photographing of sacred items is reprehensible:

In related news this week, a whistleblower has confirmed the sinister history of the United States with Native American remains. A whistleblower reveals that the US erased and altered records to hide the mismanagement of Native American remains. The exposure confirms what was previously reported about the United States dark and sinister history -- at the Smithsonian, US Interior and elsewhere -- regarding Native American remains and the United States government's violations of the NAGPRA law. Further, the Smithsonian harbors skulls from a racist and sinister experiment that included the payment of bounty for Native American skulls. Read more at:

Read more about the auction of the sacred in Paris and court rulings at New York Times:

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