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Native American Burial Rights vs History

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Poll Question: Do Native Americans have the right to bury their ancestors?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
5 [45.45%]
3 [27.27%]
3 [27.27%]
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Native American Burial Rights vs History
    Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 22:29
I generally support Native American rights, but certainly not when it comes to their insistance that their ancestors, no matter what tribe they belong to, be buried, or left undisturbed, in such a way that archeologists and historians are not allowed to view and study the remains and artifacts.

This is just stupid!  It is fundamentally important to understand history, facts, truth, ...  Why?  Because those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it!  Duh!

Take for example their demands over Kennewick man.   Boy, it just really gets my goat!  Angry

Stupid, stupid, stupid... Ermm


P.S.  My poll question sounds a bit insensitive, but I couldn't help it because the question I really wanted to pose was too long.


Edited by TranHungDao - 02-Jun-2007 at 22:32
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 23:02
I voted no, but it would read better stated as Has rights but only after sufficient study.  Once released the remains could go to whomever.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 23:17
It is a difficult question, and quite understandable.
 
The Western mentality is practically oriented, and consideres skeletons and tumbs just physical remains of people. Objects like pottery or carved stones. I am also tempted to believe that Chinese mentality is the same.
 
Native Americans across the hemisphere see things in a different manner.
To get it you have to understand they feel themselves as Nations that have been occupied by force by foreigners, and pushed away, reduced to theirs minimal expression.  You also have to understand that in Native American conception, man is part of Mother Nature, and that the landscape has sacred places, particularly tombs.
 
Natives see Westerners as greedy people, that only worry about money and that don't even care for the tombs and remains of theirs ancestors. They see them as people that have destroyed the earth and that are arrogant and selfish. Moreover, they see them as the robbers of the Amerindians, killing theirs people, stealing theirs land, robbing the culture and now.... robbing the tombs of theirs ancestors.
 
Not all Native Americans are so foundamentalist though. You should remember that there are anthropologists that are Native Americans as well. However, it is easy to understand theirs point of view.
 
Native Americans were the first to point it out that Western civilization sucks. They say it very clearly in theirs ecological thinking. It was only later that Westerners themselves realized they were wrong, destroying the planet and its diversity.
 
So, I wouldn't harry up to conclude they are wrong at all. Studies, should continue, but we should never forget that Native Americans are human beings; not just objects of study or guinea pigs to satisfy the curiosity of greedy scientists.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  Quote tommy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 23:23
Studying the tombs and bones can let people(including native themselves)  to know more about the Native american and their culture. then people and government can more care about them, Native themselves have power to struggle for their rights.I think we should choose the place carefully, to those really holy place, we should not  touch
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  Quote New User Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 23:26
Gotta say I think we should always tread carefully where burials are concerned especially with a group of people who have so much already taken away. I see your point but.....oh its a difficult one..wow off to ponder some on it. interesting thread!
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 23:30

Well, I believe anthropologist should ask permission and talk with the people of the place before rushing to act. Natives are not stupid people at all, and they do understand. They just want to be taking into account.

I remember certain schollars that were studying old mummies in Peru. They were smart enough to let the people of the town, which were native, to know what they were going to study, and they received the permission.
After the study ended, the same anthropologists explained the results to the whole town that was quite interesting.
 
Perhaps it is just a matter of respect. Intelligent scientists respect native people.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
 
 
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 00:05
Bone are bones, a calcinous remnant of a person.  A collection of minerals with very little value except for what they can tell us about the real life of the persons they once belonged to.  In the hands of competent scientists they can, in a way, be brought to life to tell us how they lived and died.

Edited by red clay - 03-Jun-2007 at 00:06
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 00:12
Originally posted by red clay

Bone are bones, a calcinous remnant of a person.  A collection of minerals with very little value except for what they can tell us about the real life of the persons they once belonged to.  In the hands of competent scientists they can, in a way, be brought to life to tell us how they lived and died.
 
That's an atheistic and western conception of life. If you go with that arrogant attitude to convince some Native Americans, I bet you'll receive a kick in the back. LOL
 
By the way, It is curious, but I am not quite sure that westerner "rational" mentality is modern or superior. After all, that mentality created Talidomine, Chernobil, the Cold War and the Holocaust; besides the ideology of the manifest destiny and comitted the genocide of Native Americans. Not something to be very proud about.
 
Antrophologists, in general, are a little bit more sensible in this issue. They understand Native Americans because they are familiar with theirs cosmology, ethic and principles.
 
Pinguin
 
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 00:33
Originally posted by pinguin

By the way, It is curious, but I am not quite sure that westerner "rational" mentality is modern or superior. After all, that mentality created Talidomine, Chernobil, the Cold War and the Holocaust; besides the ideology of the manifest destiny and comitted the genocide of Native Americans. Not something to be very proud about.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but...  Didn't the Mongols kill more people than Hitler?  They weren't exactly from the West, nor did they have that western aesthetic.  Disapprove
 
Originally posted by pinguin


Antrophologists, in general, are a little bit more sensible in this issue. They understand Native Americans because they are familiar with theirs cosmology, ethic and principles.

O hell yeah!  Think about it:  In the US, political correctness, or sensitivity and respect for other peoples and cultures if you will, ultimately came out of the 1960's anti-war hippie movement, civil rights, women's rights, etc.  But these were only made possible by truth, scholarship, research, history, archeology, anthropology...

The more knowledge we have, the more enlightened we will be, and the more civilized we will treat one another.  But we can't expand our knowledge if we can't examine the archeological remains and artifacts....

Lastly, it goes without saying that no self-respecting archeologist, anthropologist or historian is gonna go around tomb raiding and treading on other peoples bones.   The typical Tom, Dick and Harry off the street has no business digging up old Indian mounds.  Just the pro's please....Disapprove
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 00:41
Originally posted by pinguin

Originally posted by red clay

Bone are bones, a calcinous remnant of a person.  A collection of minerals with very little value except for what they can tell us about the real life of the persons they once belonged to.  In the hands of competent scientists they can, in a way, be brought to life to tell us how they lived and died.
 
That's an atheistic and western conception of life. If you go with that arrogant attitude to convince some Native Americans, I bet you'll receive a kick in the back. LOL
 
By the way, It is curious, but I am not quite sure that westerner "rational" mentality is modern or superior. After all, that mentality created Talidomine, Chernobil, the Cold War and the Holocaust; besides the ideology of the manifest destiny and comitted the genocide of Native Americans. Not something to be very proud about.
 
Antrophologists, in general, are a little bit more sensible in this issue. They understand Native Americans because they are familiar with theirs cosmology, ethic and principles.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
That's all very interesting but, has nothing to do with what I said.  It's fact
nothing glorious, that's what we are left with when we die.
As to why I said it, I've said before, you don't know me and you couldn't possibly know enough about me from this forum to know how I think.
 
I'm certainly not Atheist, and the rest of it isn't mine.  I don't buy into the "Western Mentality" thing.  That's one thing you should know about me by now. 


Edited by red clay - 03-Jun-2007 at 00:42
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 01:00

Well, sorry and I didn't pretend to offend. Please translate the "atheistic" and "western" things into the way most Westerners usually think, myself included.

In my case, even after the fact I am a Hispanic, I am not the stereotype of the farmer of countryside and sleepy Hispanic America. I am an engineer with engineering mentality (what could be more westerner). When young I was fanatic of chess, and I studies advanced mathematics for fun in my free time (what a nerd). I admired Einstein and Isaac Newton, I didn't miss a chapter of Cosmos that I can repeat by memory, and I believed everything was going to be solved by sacred science and theirs priest: the scientists.
 
However, now older, and having lived more, I realize that there is no absolute truth. I have seen other cultures as an immigrant. I have witness the death of close people. I have married and had children and marvelled with the wonder of life. I was even part of freemasonry for a while. I have learn to appreciate theology, diversity and poetry.
 
Today I believe, like Sir Isaac Newton said, we are just at the beach picking shells that represent knowledge, while a sea of ignorance spread through the horizont. There are more things in this universe that we ignore that the ones we are certain. The only thing for sure is that we may be wrong in what we think.
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 01:19
Originally posted by TranHungDao

Originally posted by pinguin

By the way, It is curious, but I am not quite sure that westerner "rational" mentality is modern or superior. After all, that mentality created Talidomine, Chernobil, the Cold War and the Holocaust; besides the ideology of the manifest destiny and comitted the genocide of Native Americans. Not something to be very proud about.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but...  Didn't the Mongols kill more people than Hitler?  They weren't exactly from the West, nor did they have that western aesthetic.  Disapprove
 
Mongols probably killed more people than Hitler. However, they were savages and that is what people expected from them. Westerners, on the other hand, pretend to be civilized. That is why the critics are valid againts the Western mentality, and not agains the Mongols LOL
 
 
Originally posted by TranHungDao


Originally posted by pinguin


Antrophologists, in general, are a little bit more sensible in this issue. They understand Native Americans because they are familiar with theirs cosmology, ethic and principles.

O hell yeah!  Think about it:  In the US, political correctness, or sensitivity and respect for other peoples and cultures if you will, ultimately came out of the 1960's anti-war hippie movement, civil rights, women's rights, etc.  But these were only made possible by truth, scholarship, research, history, archeology, anthropology...
 
What you forget is that many of those ideas were also inspired by Native American mentality. Don't forget that even in colonial times there were Europeans that preffered to live with the Natives than with their fellow European settlers. Why? Because they knew Native American were special peoples with sensibility about the real important things in life: humans and the Earth.
 
I am not idealizing Natives, though. I know about Aztec human sacrifices, and Jibaroes heads reduction. I am talking about the average Native Americans that were usually less expectacularly violent.
 
Originally posted by TranHungDao


The more knowledge we have, the more enlightened we will be, and the more civilized we will treat one another.  But we can't expand our knowledge if we can't examine the archeological remains and artifacts....
 
 You have a positivistic way of seeing things. A mentality of the times of Jules Verne, when people believed in the progress. I am a little bit more skeptical though. After all, during the 20th centuries it was quite clear something was very wrong with Western civilization. And still is.
 
 
Originally posted by TranHungDao


Lastly, it goes without saying that no self-respecting archeologist, anthropologist or historian is gonna go around tomb raiding and treading on other peoples bones.   The typical Tom, Dick and Harry off the street has no business digging up old Indian mounds.  Just the pro's please....Disapprove
 
Natives should be invited to participate in the administration of those museums and research. Native American archaeologists could serve as a link between both.
 
It is just a matter of sensitivity. That's all.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
 
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 17:01
Originally posted by TranHungDao


Take for example their demands over Kennewick man.   Boy, it just really gets my goat!
 
I agree completely.  Excavation of direct ancestors is unquestionably wrong.   When possilbe, not only the remains, but grave goods held in museums should be returned. 
 
But, very indirect "ancestors" like Kennewick man is a completely different matter.   I am a modern "Indo European".   Could I demand that all  paleolithic remains in Europe who may or may not be my very, very indirect ancestors be returned to my "tribe" (Poles) immediatly?  Is the Ice Man really the direct ancestor of modern day German speaking Italians?
 
Science, and all of humanity lost  a wonderful oppurtunity with Kennewick Man to learn more of the human story.  We probably won't get a similar chance.
Originally posted by pinguin

 
I am not idealizing Natives, though. I know about Aztec human sacrifices, and Jibaroes heads reduction. I am talking about the average Native Americans that were usually less expectacularly violent. 
I dont think that there was anything inherent in Native socieites that made them less violent than Europeans.  The Native societies just lacked technology and a commercial economy.  Therefore the violently inclined natives just lacked a more effecient means to be violent (technology based weapons) and one less possible motivation to be violent (economic).
 
There were also some Native Americans who left their societies for a variety of reasons and acculturated into European based societies before they needed to.    


Edited by Cryptic - 03-Jun-2007 at 19:59
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 19:15
Originally posted by pinguin

 
Mongols probably killed more people than Hitler. However, they were savages and that is what people expected from them. Westerners, on the other hand, pretend to be civilized. That is why the critics are valid againts the Western mentality, and not agains the Mongols LOL


The Mongols considered themself a higher form of life than other people in medieval times. For Mongols, to scratch about in the dirt practicing agriculture was undignified and uncivilised. Better to be free and on the open steppe with your horse, this was the highest form of life.

All in all, unless we have a direct link between a person today and a buried ancestor, we should be allowed to go ahead and look at remains. Throughout Europe we examine the graves of people living in Classical and Medieval times and that enriches our understanding. Perhaps by doing the same with Native Americans, a similar level of understanding and respect will develop for their past.
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2007 at 01:12
Originally posted by pinguin

  
What you forget is that many of those ideas were also inspired by Native American mentality.

Sure, but it is the general quest for knowledge, truth, etc., which even permitted the conquerors of the Native Americans to even give their "primitive" ideas a second thought.

Originally posted by pinguin

  
Don't forget that even in colonial times there were Europeans that preffered to live with the Natives than with their fellow European settlers. Why? Because they knew Native American were special peoples with sensibility about the real important things in life: humans and the Earth.

Actually, I'm aware of this.  Women from the early colonies who were kidnapped and subsequently rescued sometimes ran back to their "captors".  Apparently, they prefered the way they were treated by Native men more than their fellow immigrant males.

Originally posted by pinguin


I am not idealizing Natives, though. I know about Aztec human sacrifices, and Jibaroes heads reduction. I am talking about the average Native Americans that were usually less expectacularly violent.
I know.  And I'd agree that "patronizing" them as the "noble savage" is nothing more than the flip side of those that would say:  "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

Originally posted by pinguin

 
You have a positivistic way of seeing things. A mentality of the times of Jules Verne, when people believed in the progress. I am a little bit more skeptical though. After all, during the 20th centuries it was quite clear something was very wrong with Western civilization. And still is.
Well, you're a cheerful person. Disapprove

10 steps forward with 9 steps backwards is still better than stagnation.  Rember, Hitler killed less than Ghenghis--both in terms of actual numbers and especially in the sense of proportion of the world population respective to the late 13th century and the 20th century.

Slavery was still the norm back them.  Now it still exists, but is frowned upon and is generally illegal.

Originally posted by pinguin


Natives should be invited to participate in the administration of those museums and research. Native American archaeologists could serve as a link between both.
 
It is just a matter of sensitivity. That's all.
Absolutely.  Besides, intellectual activity tends to hook the mind and never let it go.  If more and more Native American anthropologist/archeologists are hooked, then they'll demand that the uptight traditionalists give it a rests with their unreasonable, anti-learning, anti-archeology, anti-anthropology demands.

Anyhow, to me, Kennewick man, ancient Greek artifacts, Macchu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Stone Henge, Uluru, etc., are all a part of world heritage.  And hence, belong to all of us.  Of course the rightful guardians, who control, maintain and care for, are the people who share the same cultural lineage as those remains or artifacts.

This is why I go around telling everyone I'm a part owner of the Monalisa that smiles so nice & hangs so smugly in the Louvre.  Cool

 
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2007 at 06:43
The big issue here is MONEY. Plain and simple.

Historical artifacts, sites, remains and so on generate dollars in many different ways and the question is largely over who will have control over these things and determine how that money is made. I don't think it is as simple as "it belongs to all of us". The rights to control over heritage DO belong to the people whose heritage it is, and it is up to them to determine what to do with it.

There's nothing being lost when they decide they just want to leave the things in the state they are now, and protect them from damage or development (looting, such as happens in say Peru, is a different matter and generally doesn't occur today in the USA or Canada). They'll still be there if, at some point in the future, later generations decide they want to do excavations.

Alot of history has been lost because people were too eager to do the digs and get at the artifacts. Techniques change over time, and what we can find out from a site now is far more from what we could 100 years ago. But once it's dug up it's not in situ anymore and alot of that is lost ... I don't think it is some horrible crime that some burial sites are off-limits at the moment, it leaves something for future generations to discover.
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  Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2007 at 07:49
Originally posted by edgewaters

The big issue here is MONEY. Plain and simple.

Historical artifacts, sites, remains and so on generate dollars in many different ways and the question is largely over who will have control over these things and determine how that money is made. I don't think it is as simple as "it belongs to all of us". The rights to control over heritage DO belong to the people whose heritage it is, and it is up to them to determine what to do with it.

What?!?

But the Native Americans are clearly foregoing any money that could be made.  They just don't care.  They want it all to remained buried or reburied as in the case of Kennewick man.

Originally posted by edgewaters


There's nothing being lost when they decide they just want to leave the things in the state they are now, and protect them from damage or development (looting, such as happens in say Peru, is a different matter and generally doesn't occur today in the USA or Canada).

Give anything long enough time and it will rot and decay away to oblivion. Disapprove

And what about all these damn dams that keep popping up all over the place!  I'm talking about the Three Gorges Dam in China, and especially the one in Turkey that has possibly destroyed Zeugma, an ancient Roman town.  Geeze, have you seen the Monalisa of Zeugma?  She's beautiful! Embarrassed



Arrgh!  When think of what those jive Turkeys did to her, or rather her town, I get so mad I just wanna kill somebody! Angry

Look at what they did!



It's now all underwater!  I'm so depressed; what's the point of living...  Cry


In the 1990's, the Turkish government built a large dam in the Euphrates near Birecik. The famous mosaics of Zeugma were saved but most of the ruins are now submerged. This picture shows the remains of a Roman villa; in the background, one can see the dam.

Link:  http://www.livius.org/a/turkey/zeugma/zeugma.html


Anyhoo, here's another really cool mosaic they saved other than the Monalisa of Zeugma:



Thumbs%20Up
 
Originally posted by edgewaters


Alot of history has been lost because people were too eager to do the digs and get at the artifacts.

True, True.  But those were really grave robbers and tomb raiders anyhow, like Heinrich Schliemann, or the bandit who plundered Troy.

Originally posted by edgewaters


Techniques change over time, and what we can find out from a site now is far more from what we could 100 years ago.  But once it's dug up it's not in situ anymore and alot of that is lost ... I don't think it is some horrible crime that some burial sites are off-limits at the moment, it leaves something for future generations to discover.

1000% TRUE.  The Chinese won't even dare open up the actual burial chamber of their first emperior and founder, Qin Shi Huangdi, or the guy with the terracotta warriors protecting him.  This is because ancient buried artifacts such as fabric or even wood can literally desintigrate within hours of contact with open air.  (I know this sort of thing has occurred with 2000+ year old Vietnamese artifacts, which though priceless aren't anywhere near as important as Qin's stuff.)  Until they figure away to preserve such completely irreplaceable things, its best to let it all lie in peace.





Edited by TranHungDao - 04-Jun-2007 at 08:00
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  Quote Goban Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2007 at 10:42
I guess it depends on where you are... I am currently completing an internship with a local CRM firm and we have Native American liaisons who are required to present for various projects. However, they are just as interested in archaeology as we are. Actually, I would have never guessed that they were from the reservation and not employees of the firm.
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