Posted by: Green Knight | November 11, 2012

Aboriginal Heritage Month

Whether you choose to call it Native American Heritage Month or American Indian Heritage Month, it’s this month, November. I used to work with AIM observers on archaeological digs, and we got along  just fine, because we respected their traditions and were interested in their world view, and they were interested in the science and techniques we were using to discover information about their own past. Granted, that’s not the case across most of the USA, but it was in northern California in the mid-’70s, at any rate. It was a magic time. Once, on a dig, a bunch of split-tailed swallows, right out of Black Elk Speaks, started flying up out of the trees in the creekbed in a half circle, chirping their little heads off. My professor looked over at the big Ohlone guy and said, “maybe they’re ancestors.” Two minutes later we uncovered the first burial.

We put a penny from that year on the skull. Museums already have enough old material to reanalyze using new techniques, so we tend not to excavate new stuff, just leave an indication that a site was discovered and mapped, and left otherwise undisturbed. I think that’s why the relationship was so good.

Most of the natives I’ve known call themselves Indians, and they don’t mind if I do either. Whatever, people are people. I respect the many cultures that were in the Americas before us Euros got here. I’m adopted, so I can call myself whatever I want to.

For good info, check out the Indian Country Today media network. They cover all sorts of issues, from tribal to environmental to cultural, powwows, whatever. I like them a lot. Their website is http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/, and they’re also on Facebook. Hoka hey!

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