Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We are not tokens!

After 100 Years, Tribe’s Ancestors Head Home

An amazing cultural event at the American Museum of Natural History. Seems some pot hunter of the past had desecrated and pilfered the graves of Tseycum Indians, selling the ill-gotten artifacts and remains to museums and collectors:

...With the museum’s full consent, the Tseycum tribe will be repatriating the remains of 55 of their ancestors to Canada this week. On Monday morning, in a quiet first-floor auditorium away from the museum’s crowds, tribe members performed an emotionally charged private ceremony over the 15 sturdy plastic boxes that contained the remains. The ceremony lasted two and a half hours, and the tribe members and elders from related tribes prayed, spoke, wept and sang, saying they wanted to soothe their ancestors’ spirits and prepare them for a return trip from a journey that, the tribe leaders say, should never have happened at all...

Tribal leader Chief Vern Jacks said it best:

“Our people are humans; we aren’t tokens,”

1 comment:

Livia Indica said...

It's always surprised me how we feel about our dead of a certain time period. A couple hundred years seems to be the cut off. Any more than, say, 500 years and we don't seem to care what happens to the physical remains. Interesting.