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My Beef With NAGPRA

By Jerry Adams

    In 2001, in Afghanistan the Taliban used explosives, to destroy massive carved stone Buddhas, circa 300 AD that had been a cultural treasure that were so rare and important that they truly belonged to the world, not the Taliban, nor the Afghans, nor the Buddhists.  

In 1993 in the United States of America the Shoshone tribe buried forever (destroying all possibility of recovery) the remains called "Buhl Woman" which was a skeleton of a woman recovered by others in a private quarry.  The skeleton had been radiocarbon dated at 10,675 years RCYBP, before any genetic testing could be done, although experts in Osteological science Richard Janz noted that the skeleton did not fit any living group including American Indians, and indeed resembled Polynesians more than any other current race of peoples.  This skeleton was a treasure that truly belonged to the world, not to a small minority of native American activists, or inept bumbling bureaucrats.  "Brown's Valley Man" an 8,700 year old skeleton, was also reburied by the weekend warriors, as well as the 7,900 year old "Pelican Rapids Woman".  The 9,700 year old "Spirit Cave Mummy" was also entombed by the chubby casino owners, forever lost to science, no matter that some new discovery might shed light on the actual origin of these remains which most certainly are not ancestors of the native Americans that so feverishly attempt to gain media coverage by burning cedar and various new-age poppycock that they hope will impress everyone with how in touch with nature they are, before the speed away in their black Expeditions to the casinos and gaming rooms.  How sad it is to see these people make fools of themselves, descended from a hard people who survived by the skin of their teeth, and fought to keep their seed alive, have now sunk so far as to fight their fights with lawyers, lawsuits, guilt trips and media showmanship rather than bows and arrows. 

Human remains twice as old as the pyramids in Egypt, four times as old as the Mayan culture, and these people have the gall to say their oral history goes back that far!  The federal government, fighting to keep tribes from legislating the removal of powerplant dams and giant spillways in the northwest had rather give the tribes cultural material that doesn't belong to them merely to "shut them up" and send them home, to placate the lawbook reading redskins.