The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

US charity spends $530,000 in French auction to return artifacts to Native American tribes

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PARIS - A U.S. charity says it has purchased 24 contested Native American artifacts from a French auction house in order to return them to tribes who sought to block their sale.

The Los Angeles-based Annenberg Foundation said in a statement on its website Wednesday that it paid a total $530,000 for the artifacts and will return them to the Hopi Nation in Arizona and to the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The auction last week raised a total of $1.6 million from the sale of sacred Hopi masks and other artifacts, which the tribes argued represent their ancestors' spirits and shouldn't be sold.

A bid by the tribes' lawyers to get a French court to block the auction failed after a judge ruled the sale was legal in France.

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