In the heated battle of who can control the past critical information and an abundance of education is being lost from the study of ancestral remains. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) is plummeting our modern society into the past. Archeologists now not only have to deal with the difficult task of piecing together the remains of past generations, but to now take on the daunting task of upholding science in the courthouse.
How can a society point a finger and determine whom in fact owns our past? If we look back far enough into time we see our origins as a common ancestry, and we are in fact descendants of a single race that migrated throughout the globe. There are eleven tribes fighting for the burial rights of more than one thousand Native American skeletons found in the Fonto national forest in Arizona dating back to almost two thousand years. Four tribes from southern Arizona want the bones buried on there reservation, because they believe that they are descendants of the Anasazi (the bones that were found). Also the Hopi and the Zoni believe they have rights to Anasazi bones, because they state also they are culturally affiliated. These debated claims are dangerous to the future of anthropology. Native Americans making claims to ancestral remains almost two millennia old is like an American citizen laying claim to the bones of King Henry VIII or even Napoleon. There is no need for Native Americans to claim a piece of everyone's heritage and bury bones which will further our knowledge of the past, because in the end it will only lead to utter chaos.
The repercussions of NAGPRA are staggering. The loss of valuable information to help scientists as well as people understand who contributed to the colonization of North America in prehistoric times is one of the many problems. 9,300-year-old bones were found on a riverbank in Washington in 1996. At first these bones were thought to be from a white settler,...
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