Righting Wrongs: The Repatriation of the Maaso Kova

The Maaso Kova is a ceremonial deer head sacred to the Yaqui peoples whose members span across northern Mexico and southern Arizona. It is an essential part of community ritual, used to bridge the divide between the physical world and the spiritual world of their ancestors. It was removed by two Danish field anthropologists in 1934, and taken to Sweden in 1937, where, until recently, the Maaso Kova remained.

Almost 90 years after its removal, in June 2022 Sweden and Mexico signed an agreement for the repatriation of the Maaso Kova. Subsequently, it was shipped to Mexico City.  At present, the Maaso Kova is awaiting transfer from Mexico City to Kolensia in Yaqui lands.

This webinar will explore the incredible journey home of the Maaso Kova. In conversation with Shea Esterling, Andrea Carmen and Kristen Carpenter will discuss their involvement in this journey; respectively as a member of the Yaqui Nation and Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council who initiated the repatriation efforts and as the North American member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

This conversation will unpack themes around racism, colonialism, decolonization, heritage, and restitution. Please join us!


  • Andrea Carmen, Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council
  • Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor of Law, University of Colorado
  • Shea Esterling, Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, Faculty of Law

 This event is organized by ASIL's Rights of Indigenous Peoples Interest Group.