Indian Group Blasts Meteorite Sale

September 14, 2007


Source: Washington Post

Wire Service: AP

The Willamette Meteorite is a sacred icon to the Oregon-based Clackamas Indians. The tribe has its own name for the massive space rock, Tomanowas, and holds an annual religious ceremony with the meteorite in its home at the American Museum of Natural History.

Now a chunk of the 10,000-year-old meteorite is up for auction, and the tribe is denouncing its sale.

But the owner of the fragment, noting the vast majority of the 15.5-ton meteorite remains untouched, said his sympathy for the group's complaints would not halt next month's sale. The 30-pound piece, sliced from the renowned rock's crown nearly a decade ago, is expected to bring in more than $1 million.

"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, which includes the Clackamas.