Almost all Native American tribes request that all human remains and cultural items in or near their area that are related to them, even prehistoric remains, are to be buried for their rituals and not be used for any purposes, regardless of any scientific significance. This enforced by the federal US government and supported by other governments.
Do you think that it's ethical for tribes to permanently bury prehistoric remains? The process is literally useless except to satisfy their beliefs and will prevent any legal scientific research for the remains, which means potential anthropological finds on the remains will be lost.
On a related note the remains of Kennewick Man has been identified as Native American, which means Native American tribes in the surrounding area will attempt to bury the remains permanently, despite that it's around 9,000 years old and potentially yield important anthropological finds:
Post by Infinity Blade on Jun 19, 2015 8:18:11 GMT 5
Given the topic, I was hesitant at first to give my personal opinion here, as I don't wish to walk on eggshells. That said, it's now time for my $0.02.
I can see where these Native Americans are coming from; they obviously intend to show respect to their dead relatives/ancestors and whatnot by laying them to rest again, even if they're very old. However, I don't quite concur with this. As I said, while I can understand where this argument is coming from, I just cannot bring myself to say that they should be reburied subsequent to their discovery because of this, as a) these human remains can be centuries if not millenia old (as in the case of the example in the OP) and b) I guess I care for science & knowledge so much that I wouldn't like to see opportunities contributing to the two aforementioned things to be taken away.
"Let every creature go for broke and sing Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing"
Post by creature386 on Oct 28, 2017 15:08:43 GMT 5
Scientific research > cultural rituals. The former is important for the progress of humanity. Cultural rituals are not valuable in and of themselves if you ask me. Of course there are very enriching rituals which deserve to be preserved, but some such rituals can also be very harmful, so "It's my culture" is not an excuse for everything.
Post by creature386 on May 28, 2020 23:37:59 GMT 5
My above post doesn't quite represent my current beliefs anymore, so let me try again.
As a general rule of thumb, I believe scientific research is more important than cultural rituals. However, this shouldn't be an absolute rule. Rather, one must look at each conflict from an utilitarian perspective and weigh the costs against the benefits. In this case, researching the prehistoric remains of North America is of rather marginal benefit for mankind as a whole. Disregarding the cultural rituals of Native Americans, however, is no small deal. Native Americans have a long history of having their culture appropriated* and maligned by the not-so-native Americans. Seeing researchers do that, too, might trigger some uncomfortable collective trauma and that's something we'd generally want to avoid without a really good reason.
So, yeah, I'm with science most of the time, but it depends on the context.
*I think cultural appropriation in general is being taken far too seriously these days, but that's a different debate.
Post by Infinity Blade on May 29, 2020 1:28:37 GMT 5
Disclaimer: I am not Native American. I will never be Native American. I will never know what it's like to be Native American. This is just my personal opinion as a non-Native American.
One thing I'm really wondering is whether or not repatriation of Native American cultural items should apply to Paleoamericans too. Kennewick Man in the OP, for example, is literally ~8,300 years old. La Brea Woman is even older; she's ~10,200 years old. Anzick-1 is older yet; he's ~12,600 years old. The point is, sometimes the cultural items and remains in question are so old that one has to wonder how much weight there really is behind reburying them as per tribal rituals. Certainly 12,000 (or even 8,000) years is far more than enough time for the owners of ancient items/remains to be culturally removed from modern Native Americans, even if there is genetic continuity between the two. So even if modern day tribes want a Paleoamerican reburied out of respect, it's by no means a given that said Paleoamerican would have cared or even wanted to be posthumously treated the way a descendant tribe 12-8k years ago wants.
With all that said, I absolutely understand why Native Americans are sensitive to the desecration of remains and cultural artifacts. The bolded stuff down below is absolutely disgusting.
The tribes had good reason to be sensitive. The early history of museum collecting of Native American remains is replete with horror stories. In the 19th century, anthropologists and collectors looted fresh Native American graves and burial platforms, dug up corpses and even decapitated dead Indians lying on the field of battle and shipped the heads to Washington for study. Until NAGPRA, museums were filled with American Indian remains acquired without regard for the feelings and religious beliefs of native people. NAGPRA was passed to redress this history and allow tribes to reclaim their ancestors’ remains and some artifacts. The Smithsonian, under the National Museum of the American Indian Act, and other museums under NAGPRA, have returned (and continue to return) many thousands of remains to tribes. This is being done with the crucial help of anthropologists and archaeologists—including Owsley, who has been instrumental in repatriating remains from the Smithsonian’s collection. But in the case of Kennewick, Owsley argued, there was no evidence of a relationship with any existing tribes. The skeleton lacked physical features characteristic of Native Americans.
Likewise, even from a scientific standpoint, there's no reason for anyone to be crying about Kennewick Man being reburied, considering all that we've learned about him. At least going off the Wikipedia page, NAGPRA allows for a short period of archaeological analysis before the remains have to be returned. And if the remains turn out to be American Indian, analysis is still technically allowed, if only through documented consultation or consent on tribal lands.
Last Edit: Jan 23, 2021 23:23:55 GMT 5 by Infinity Blade: I was wrong. Wikipedia refers to Kennewick Man as a Paleoamerican. Also clarified some other points.
"Let every creature go for broke and sing Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing"
This is not creationism vs evolution debate. No one in their right mind should teach anybody that earth is 6000 years old. or use religion to ignore science.
But science and spirituality have more in common than one might think. And this debate is about something different. Both Native Americans and scientist wish to have connection to the past. however ultimately those artifacts belong to Native Americans. it is up to them to decide whether scientist have rights to them or not.
I like neuroscience and i believe progress in that area is extremely important. however while most of those experiments are done on animals deceased or euthanized for different reasons occasionally it is done solely for this purpose in case of lower animals such as rats and mice. I hate rats. But for me their death is price that i'm not willing to pay. I feel the same way about frogs. ( except I don't hate frogs)
The Native Americans believe that they have connection to their ancestors both cultural and spiritual. Spirituality and its validity or lack there off is another topic. But memory is important to everyone.
When enough time has passed our cultures will be gone from most records. It is then when scientist can recover personal belongings of then ancient cultures. Same as it was done with Egypt or Mesopotamia.
There was a point in my life when I would say science tops all. But to Native Americans what little they have left is very important in all levels.
Plus in my opinion from historical point of view we have more to learn from Aztec and Mayan cultures than Native American tribes further north at least as far as artifacts are concerned. Its not the same with the culture as a whole but how can we allow for Carnac stones to be used to build roads (and some already have been hopefully it will not go any further) while disrespecting beliefs of Native Americans.
Post by Infinity Blade on Aug 22, 2020 20:25:03 GMT 5
This is Trey's video on it. He sums up arguments from both sides more than he does take a side on it. One thing brought up for the scientists' side is part of my opinion here.
To reiterate a point of mine (and brought up in Trey's video): can you claim kinship to someone who lived so long ago and is thus related to a lot of different ethnic (in this case, particularly indigenous American) groups? Where does kinship end? Kennewick Man's genetic study showed that he was most closely related Native Americans as a whole, and several groups seem to have been descended from a population closely related to Kennewick Man.
"We find that Kennewick Man is closer to modern Native Americans than to any other population worldwide. Among the Native American groups for whom genome wide data is available for comparison, several appear to be descended from a population closely related to that of Kennewick Man, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Colville), one of the five tribes claiming Kennewick Man."
Hell, five different tribes were claiming Kennewick Man. And again, other examples (e.g. La Brea Woman and Anzick-1) are even older.
But science and spirituality have more in common than one might think.
Lmao. Of course this came straight out of this guy's keyboard.
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