- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Four items held sacred by the Hopi Tribe have been returned to the northern Arizona reservation.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe says the items were turned over by a private collector as part of an agreement to avoid prosecution in a federal case.

The tribe’s cultural preservation director says he’s hopeful that people understand the emotional impact that the sale, theft and transfer of such items have on Hopis. Collecting artifacts from public or tribal land without a permit is a federal crime in the United States.

The items were returned Sept. 26, the same day nearly two dozen other ceremonial items purchased last year at a French auction house were delivered to the Hopi reservation.

A judge in France had ruled the auction was legal.

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