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While I agree with many sentiments in the article, it reads more like an editorial than an objective presentation of the issue. Anthropologists would argue that there are specific scientific motives to keep and study human remains.188.8.131.52 (talk)
Agreed. There are numerous opinions posing as facts in this article, though it is also clear to me that the editors have done their best so far to maintain a sense of neutrality on this very contentious, deeply emotional, and (to many) spiritual issue. It could really use some input from a scientist in the field who has a thorough understanding of and sensitivity to the indigenous populations involved. It could equally benefit from the input of elders from the indigenous populations involved who also have an understanding of the role (benefits and limitations) of science, not just among their own nation, but among all nations. I'm not sure about the former, but I know the latter are out there - elders who understand science. I've personally heard many of them speak at AIHEC and other academic conferences. Virtual tobacco for any elders who care to help out with this article (or if that seems like a crass remark, sincere gratitude from my true heart), considering the spiritual and physical needs of your people and the real role science plays in all of our lives.
We all have a lot to learn from our ancestors, and many of us who are of European descent (and some of us who are not) believe that we honor our ancestors by learning from them. We learn what they ate by studying their teeth. We learn from their bones whether they suffered from diseases that are killing so many of us now, and if they didn't, we might learn what they were doing that protected them. Maybe their bones hold the answer to the deadly problem of diabetes. It's true that diabetes wasn't known in tribal communities of the Americas 100 years ago, and I believe that the old ways of living protected them - spiritual health, traditional diet, almost constant exercise, the lack of alcohol and refined sugars - but diabetes is killing and crippling so many of us today that I think we are in a desperate condition. We are in a condition that was unknown when our ancestors taught that their Earthly remains, which are no longer a part of them, should be buried according to the old ways. I think our most ancient ancestors would be honored to know that we are doing everything we can to learn from them about the deadly diabetes epidemic that has afflicted at least 1/3 and as many as 90% of the people in any given American tribe. I have seen western chiefs wearing their war bonnets in recognition of the dire struggle we are in against diabetes and alcoholism. During my life, tribes have been at war with themselves over the issue of alcoholism. (Remember the Menominee struggle over the novitiate, which some wanted to make into an alcoholism rehab center while others denied there was a problem.) It is not guaranteed, but it is possible that the reverent study of our most ancient ancestors' remains will teach us about these modern afflictions. Comparing their teeth and bones to those of modern day men and women might give us new weapons for what many elders consider a war against modern diseases. DNA analysis might lead us to new approaches in the treatment of many diseases.
People are dying. Elders are dying. Children are dying. Languages are dying, and with them ancient values are dying. Knowledge of our ancestors is dying. Science can record that ancient knowledge, and it might one day bring an end to these deadly epidemics.
I didn't intend to go on a tirade. I speak from the heart, and my passion is true. I wanted to ask for help from elders who really understand Western science in editing this article, but I am a man with an opinion and a passion for doing what's needed to end this struggle, and my emotions took hold. I'm sorry if I got carried away, yet I believe this needs to be said.
For all my relations, I thank you. Dcs002 (talk) 05:00, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
It is very difficult or even impossible to explain the use of archaeology for society.
This article lacks detail and there are is complete lack of information about some of the most notorious cases such as the Sarah Baartman, "Negro of Banyoles", "Yagan", Egyptian "mummies" and native american remains. Each of these cases should have a section to themselves, plus other notable examples that I am not aware of, since I am not an expert in this field. Further, there needs to be a section on relevant international and national laws and accompanying lawsuits etc. Lastly there needs to be information about how this issues has been dealt with historically and the evolving views on the matter. This article requires a complete rewrite by an expert.Pearl2525 (talk) 16:29, 12 May 2014 (UTC)