Creative Writing

Sacred Burial Grounds


There are many unmarked graves in the United States. This is especially true with Native American Indians. Although for different reasons grave robbers and archaeologists alike feel they have the right to unearth these remains and the artifacts buried with in them. Some land owners would like to remove or cover burial mounds found on their property. Native Americans want the same respect for their deceased that is given to the white man. This has become a very controversial debate due to a growing population and less land being available to build on. Many times the decision is left up to the courts.
                                                        Sacred Burial Grounds
Native Americans once roamed the land we now call the United States. They would move with the seasons following the buffalo they hunted for food. This meant that one tribe could have at least four sites they would return to each year. It also meant they could have at least four burial grounds. Today it is hard to find land that a Native American tribe did not walk across leaving part of their heritage and sometimes their ancestors behind.
How do we decide whose beliefs are right? Native Americans have very strong beliefs about their ancestors and their burial grounds. In an article written by Specktor, a Dakota spiritual leader is quoted as saying “Our belief is (that) nothing or no one ever dies, we just turn into something else and live on spiritually” (Specktor, 1994). Because of this belief Native Americans also have strong feelings regarding disturbing their ancestor burial grounds. Some even believe that disturbing a burial ground will upset the spirit resulting in very negative consequences.
Can Native Americans and archaeologist work together to meet in the middle over this very controversial debate? There are Native Americans who want to learn more about the scientific side of their history and would like to collaborate with archaeologist to...