Re: Respect for the Dead (was Re: What a great group)

P. Creasy (
Wed, 22 Nov 1995 19:48:54 -0800

On Tue, 21 Nov 1995, Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx wrote:

> In article <48s0el$>,
> jlong@Primenet.Com (John Long) wrote (in alt.society.funerary):
> >Seems that it's ok for one culture to dig up another's graves. I was
> >checking some computers in a college anthropology lab, and saw these
> >boxes with skulls in them. Just plain old cardboard boxes. No respect.
> >The culture that the owners of those skulls belonged to, is constantly
> >reminding their "conquerers" to please, if you don't mind, we'd
> >appreciate it if you didn't bulldoze our ancestors' resting place for
> >that nice hotel or shopping center or whorehouse or whatever...
> Stanford University reached an accord with several of the indigenous peoples
> of California to return hundreds of bones which had been collected by their
> anthropologists over the years. I see this as the beginning of a hopeful
> trend and wish that other universities would follow Stanford's lead.
> The collection of bones is a remnant of an age when anthropologists measured
> skull capacities. But not all disadvantaged peoples end up in boxes. A large
> Chinese cemetery in San Francisco was turned into Lincoln Park and a golf
> course was laid out over it. A similar cemetery for paupers and medical
> school cadavers in nearby Colma, California, was likewise turned into a golf
> course.

Um, excuse me Joel, but I'm a little confused here, I guess. You say not
all "disadvantaged" people, then refer to the Chinese cemetary. But, if
you had couched your terminology in terms more in keeping with the political
structures which allowed for such disinterment (maybe vulnerable or
politically impotent), it would seem those whose bones ended up in boxes
would all fit the category...and perhaps that is why they, in particular,
ended up "in boxes." Just a thought.