Going, Going, Gone

auctionDid you catch this news story a couple weeks ago? It read:

Picture 4In a follow-up on the implications of auctioning Native American artifacts, National Public Radio quoted Rebecca Tsosie, a law prof at Arizona State University:

“when an indigenous nation such as the Hopi Nation says these items are alive, they have an essence, they have a being, one should suspend Western judgement and say, ‘you know what if they believe that, it’s our duty to respect that belief.’ “

What I’m wondering is not only what students in the academic study of religion think of the rule of thumb she proposes, or how we decide what parts of the past we can play around with, but also why, if this issue is as weighty as the lawyer suggests, this is a but an “Arts” story in the New York Times?

(Interested in some background on the repatriation of such relics?)