Categories
Native-American Studies

Repatriation and NAGPRA

  • 1. When did the first recorded incidences of the desecration of Indian graves take place and how did this set precedence for the plundering of Indian burial sites in the future?

Immediately after landing, there was robbing of an Indian grave. That was the first recorded incidence of the desecration of Indian graves. The above act embraced the Spanish’s grave robbing civilization, who had settled the North prior to their arrival and they were building the foundation for the Americans who would follow suit. Consequently, the above incidence initiated the future plundering of Indian burial locations.

  • 2. How did the discovery of a 9,000 year old skeleton on the banks of the Columbia Rover near Kennewick, Washington create a national conflict between anthropologists and Indian people over control of human remains found on ancestral Indian lands?

The discovery of the skeleton prompted a lengthy legal clash among scientists, the American authorities, and the tribes of the Native Americans who uphold Kennewick Man among their ancestors. The NAGPRA states that, if human remains are set up on federal lands, as well as their cultural association to a tribe of Native American can be recognized, the associated tribe may declare them as their part. The findings of the skeleton on the Columbia created conflict on the fact that, the tribe of Umatilla demanded remains’ custody, in order to bury them with respect to tribal customary.

However, researchers eager to analyze the remains, they challenged the above claim. American Natives would definitely oppose the conception that they were burying history; the same way archaeologists would with the claims that they are thieves. However, the two sides are often classified as such, emphasizing the fact that a dispute may result from cultural misunderstandings. The tribe maintained that their unwritten history dates 10,000 years before present and argue that their people have been existing on their historical territory since ancient times. Consequently, the government’s declaration that the discovered Man is not an American Native is unfavorable to their sacred beliefs.

  • 3. Why do Anthropologists and Archeologists feel it is important to study Indian remains, and why do Indian people insist they must be undisturbed or returned to their tribes?

Anthropologists and archaeologists are critical in revealing the origin, progress, and human beings’ behavior, and exploring the past and analyzing the present. They study the cultures, linguistics, archaeological remains, and people’s bodily characteristics in the diverse divisions of the world.

Significantly, most  Indians insist on undisturbed life and to return home to  have fellowship with relatives; celebrate family ceremonies and celebrations; partake in religious rituals, cultural events, or community  engagements; toil for their ethnic governments;  conduct businesses; take part in tribal elections or contest for tribal office;  job retirement; or to be buried home.

  • 4. What impact has the study of Indian remains had on Indian stereotypes? Have stereotypes been promoted or negated through post-mortem scientific study?

Unfortunately, the study of Indian remains encourages favoritism and injustices that have influenced negatively on modern Indians. It has resulted to stereotypes, which form references that persuade significance in mythical Indians produced by the principal culture, although they obstruct authentic understanding of modern Native populace as associate Americans. The finding of Kennewick Man, and other antique skeletons, has prompted scientific debate over the initial origin, as well as history of ancient Native Americas.

 Scientists maintain a hypothesis that postulate that there was a single migration wave, comprised of hunters following huge game herds, which wandered across the bridge of Bering land approximately 12,000 before present.  Additionally, in another hypothesis they assert that there were myriad migration waves to the Americas. Consequently, post- modernism has negated the above stereotypes.  It is worthwhile noting that, the evident multiplicity of prehistoric skeletal remains, which may entail traits hardly associated with contemporary American Natives, has been employed as substantiation to maintain the above rival hypotheses.

  • 5. What role did the Red Power Movement play in the passage of NAGPRA, and how does sovereignty become an important issue in the protection of the native gravesites?

The red power agitated for the people’s aspirations by acting as a representative of ideologies of the Indians.  Therefore, it played a critical role as the voice of the Indians. Additionally, the Red power pressurized the American authorities to give in the plight of the Indians.  Significantly, the implementation encouraged a spirit of cooperation among tribes and scholars and it revealed the possibilities of a culturally cognizant archaeology. It also culminated to new osteology opportunities, utilization of oral tradition. Feelings of concern and partnership thrived for approximately a decade; however, the potential relationship of an archaeologist and a Native American has currently remained increasingly strained.

Sovereignty has realized significance in protection due to its essentiality in the strength of customary Native religions, civilization, languages, as well as status as autonomous nations. Protection of intangible ancestral cultural wealth is also crucial in the preservation of tribal civilization.