Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Northwest Native American Indian Group Upset About Meteorite Sale

The Williamette Meteorite is sacred to the Northwest Native Indian tribe Clackamas. The tribe holds an annual religious ceremony with the meteorite, named Tomanowas, in its home at the American Museum of Natural History. This meteorite which is the largest ever discovered in America, was given in ancient times to the Clackamas people by the Sky People. Now a 30 pound piece of the 10,000 year old meteorite is up for auction and the Northwest Native American Indian tribe is denouncing its sale.

"We are deeply saddened that any individual or organization would be so insensitive to Native American spirituality and culture as to traffic in the sale of a sacred and historic artifact," said Siobahn Taylor of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Darryl Pitt, who is selling the piece, recognizes the Grand Ronde's concerns. "While I regret the Grand Ronde has taken offense, the bottom line is that a portion of the meteorite is simply changing hands," he said.

Tomanowas was discovered in 1902 in the Willamette Valley by an Oregon miner who removed it from the land. Today, the small chunk of the meteor will be auctioned at Bonhams Auction House in New York City on October 28. Its pre-sale estimate is between $1,100,000 to $1,300,000.

See Free Spirit Gallery for more culture and Northwest Native American Indian art.

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