One thing that really stimulated my thinking on the topic of archaeology was the zest that it occurs in Great Britain as opposed to the United States. In Canterbury where I lived for a good part of February of 2017 there was a lot of archaeology that was going on and has happened working in conjunction with new residential development and there wasn’t much fuss about anything—whereas in the United States if an archaeologist found a bone dating anywhere from 1500 A.D. to 7,000 B.C. the Native American lobby would pounce on it and seek to confiscate the finding to rebury as an “ancestor.” In England some archaeologist like Francis Pryor might look at it and say, “ahh, that’s from 3000 B.C. Bronze Age. Oh, that one is from the Norman invasion after William the Conqueror’s people came over from France. Oh, and that one is from a Viking raid around 900 A.D.” They do that because the history is so well-known that no single lobby of people can lay claim to the skeletal remains of any other people—because so much happened in England over a 5000-year period that it’s impossible to really tell who is who until a proper excavation is performed scientifically. But in America the assumption is that anything before Christopher Columbus’ visit entails Native American heredity—which is a false assumption by the gathering cloud of evidence clearly displayed.
Another thing that really stimulated my thinking on these matters were that there was clearly the same kind of burial mounds in Canterbury that were clearly obvious at Stonehenge off to the west of London. And those mounds were exactly like those found in the Ohio Valley. I had read such things but in seeing them in person it became very clear to me that the techniques and motivations were identical to the mysterious Mound Builders in Ohio and that this was something that deserved much more discussion. The historical record within Canterbury attributes them to the Roman period of about 50 AD, but if they are considered part of a global tapestry, it is quite possible that they go back even further and that the Romans built their version of Canterbury right on top of what was there from prehistory, just as we built our cities on top of the great mounds of the Ohio Valley, like Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky. In Cincinnati as I’ve said in previous articles there was a great mound where the current Fountain Square is today where the Cincinnati Tablet was found—which is completely foreign to what we associate with nomadic Indian tribes of the time—so this practice of desecration and destruction of previous cultures goes back a long way. But the evidence is still quite clear. There is a large mound that isn’t even on a map of ancient Roman Canterbury at St. Augustine’s Abby that was precisely of the type found at the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio that if I had to bet money on it—those ancient cultures were connected by sea and even perhaps by land. We are not talking about a regional situation with these old cultures and the bones tell the story. It was truly global at a time we don’t associate long distance travel to.
As all this information was splashing into new books on archaeology the old forces of academia who wanted to preserve the clear distinction between pre-Columbian archaeology and this new global diffusion theory, they used President Bush and the Native American lobby as an excuse to slow down archaeological research in North American with The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act otherwise known as NAGPRA was created to do just that. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Pub. L. 101-601, 25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., 104 Stat. 3048, is a United States federal law enacted on 16 November 1990.
The Act requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American “cultural items” to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. Cultural items include human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. A program of federal grants assists in the repatriation process and the Secretary of the Interior may assess civil penalties on museums that fail to comply.
NAGPRA also establishes procedures for the inadvertent discovery or planned excavation of Native American cultural items on federal or tribal lands. While these provisions do not apply to discoveries or excavations on private or state lands, the collection provisions of the Act may apply to Native American cultural items if they come under the control of an institution that receives federal funding.
Lastly, NAGPRA makes it a criminal offense to traffic in Native American human remains without right of possession or in Native American cultural items obtained in violation of the Act. Penalties for a first offense may reach 12 months imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.
On a personal note, I work in a field of endeavor that is ominously controlled by regulation, especially at the federal level and I deal with professionals in the regulatory occupations routinely, and I have observed that much of what they do is for job security. Most regulations and rules are not meant to protect the consumer or even a producer, it is to create work for a massive bureaucracy so that they can skim a good living off the actions of others—as a second-hander. And that is precisely what this NAGPRA business is all about. When the Native American Indian lobby got to George Bush to sign that NAGPRA act in 1990 that was the spirit of the law, to control the direction of historical dissimilation in preservation for the Smithsonian and National Geographic version of historical events—both of which are located in Washington D.C.
Let me say that I used to be a big fan of National Geographic, I read all their magazines, bought many of their books and watched everything they did. But, for a long time now they have become an instrument of politics and that was very obvious when I visited their headquarter in Washington D.C. in the mid-90s. I am no longer a fan as they have become left leaning political to the point of molding science to fit their politics—and that just isn’t right—primarily over the issue of human origins and climate change. It is they who have largely left the notion in North America of the Bering Strait land bridge migration from Russia of the Indian into North America and that those groups became the ancestral tribes seeking protection under NAGPRA. So I no longer trust National Geographic, they are more political than science and that makes them useless for a modern debate on this matter and unfortunately society has been slow to join me on that ultimate trajectory of opinion. They will of course as they always do—but as of now, they are still stuck in the old mode of thinking and NAGPRA is used as a political weapon to protect theories of North American settlement that are long in need of refinement.
If designated properly, the way they do in England for instance, where certain periods belong to certain migrations, such as Mesolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Anglo Saxon, Norman, then the modern period—World War II, and so on—North America has its own diffusion and mass migrations that have not been acknowledged. I mean think about it, around 2001 B.C. Noah supposedly built a ship that could float on a flooded earth for 40 days and 40 nights. Even if you scientifically don’t take that story as a historic fact—still, some writer of the Book of Genius thought it possible based on the events of that time. They had navigational ships in the times of Noah that could travel a great distance. Even consider the Colossus of Rhodes was built-in the time of 280 B.C. which was about the size of the modern Statue of Liberty and was positioned off the Greek islands. They didn’t build such a thing in a harbor for canoes. They had big majestic ships in those days and they weren’t just going across the lake to Egypt to trade. They were going vast distances which is evident by archaeology in North America so far found and the whole Indian thing doesn’t stick. The ancient ancestors of the Indian were not just Paleolithic hunters. They were people from everywhere, China, Peru, Mexico, England, France—everywhere and they were mixing things together to form their own empires that rose and fell well before Columbus ever arrived. At best the Native American that we typically think of as a protected Indian on a reservation and falling under the parameters of NAGPRA might have existed from 1300 A.D—and that is being generous, to about 1900 AD. Not a very long life. Before them were city-state empires that rivaled Europe and they were not a docile nature loving species. They were cannibals in many cases and ruthless warriors not unlike the Aztecs and the Mayans. What Columbus met were the failed remains of those declining cultures that had mixed with each other over time and lost their way starting over again as eastern oriented pacifists—which is why they were so easily slaughtered.
Don’t think I don’t appreciate the people we call Indians. I grew up in the land of Tecumseh and I enjoy the stories of the Shawnee and the Iroquois—as well as many others. There are hints in their mythology to a time long gone in North America and I enjoy hearing them. But the bones dug up in a prehistoric Ohio Mound are not the ancestors of Tecumseh the way that NAGPRA sells it. The value of that archaeology is greater than the politics of returning those bones to some tribe of Shawnee or Hopewell Indian. Likely the ancestors of the Ohio Valley mounds are more related to the people of Stonehenge than Tecumseh and that’s why NAGPRA has no relevancy into modern Archaeology. The only purpose of it is to give useless people jobs and to control the migration theory advanced by National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute protecting them from challenging new evidence. The English Heritage people are doing a much better job at the business of archaeology and they are not functioning under such ridiculous restrictions.
Without NAGPRA the archaeological sciences in North America would explode with new enthusiasm and effort. Museums would benefit. Universities would benefit. And our understanding of history would greatly benefit. And like everything there is money to be made in the expansion of any science, even those of studying history. A few years ago, Stonehenge was just a pile of rocks on the side of the road. Now it’s an amusement park dedicated to the preservation of science. It’s really a beautiful thing. But they can do that there because they don’t have the same restrictions that we do in North America. NAGPRA isn’t good for anybody but the progressive Native American Indian lobby who are essentially a bunch of misplaced Chinese immigrants. The people who built the various mounds around Ohio were not from China. They were from Europe and likely the Middle East. And that is something that needs to be stated clearly in our history books. Because to really know our ancestors—we have to face the facts of the evidence presented to us—and not hide it behind mindless bureaucrats intent to make a job for themselves by stopping scientific progress. And that’s what NAGPRA is all about.
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