your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Mary Pember: Digging the dirt for Native ancestors and artifacts

Filed Under: Environment | Law
More on: mary annette pember, nagpra

The Indiana home where the remains and artifacts were found. Photo by Mary Annette Pember

Mary Annette Pember reports on the looting of Native grave sites across the country:
Although viewed by many as a benign hobby, digging for Native artifacts is a burgeoning business online and at artifact shows, where ancient pottery fetches thousands of dollars and even arrowheads can bring hundreds, depending on condition and type.

According to archaeologists, the most sought after artifacts are found in burials. “An unbroken, decorated pottery item has nearly always been taken from a burial site,” says Christopher Moore, professor of Anthropology at the University of Indianapolis. “Typically we see a big increase in people digging for artifacts during economic downturns.”

Looters seeking the high-end artifacts found in burial sites will often use a tile probe—a long probe with a handle attached—to poke into the ground until they hit something hard. Pottery found in this manner typically has a small cylindrical hole where the probe first made contact.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, NAGPRA was passed in 1990 to help protect such artifacts. Although NAGPRA includes provisions for remains and cultural items found on tribal and federal land, laws governing such activity on private land is complex and varies from state to state. “Dealers and sellers usually sidestep questions about the origins of such objects, saying that they came from old collections, pre-dating federal law protecting the items, or were found in an eroding riverbank,” says Moore.

Native people are working to increase awareness about the disrespect and damage such digging and trafficking in artifacts does to contemporary tribal cultures. “When you remove the bones of my loved ones from the earth where they were interred, you remove them from the proximity of family,” says Ben Barnes, second chief of the Shawnee tribe of Oklahoma.

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: People of the Dirt, Part Two: The Obsessive and Destructive Artifact Thieves (Indian Country Today 5/12)

Related Stories:
Mary Pember: FBI finds ancestors and artifacts in Indiana home (5/8)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native candidate in South Dakota gets big boost from Obama (10/26)
Landowners from Bad River Band see $6.6M in buy-back offers (10/26)
Former Obama administration official joins Native owned firm (10/26)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates for Congress in final stretch (10/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe reacts to shootings (10/26)
Native Sun News Today: Pine Ridge football team impresses (10/26)
Brandon Ecoffey: Strong fixes needed for reservation crime (10/26)
Raúl Grijalva: Republicans still won't listen to Indian Country (10/26)
Steve Russell: The magic of Donald Trump's 'plan' for America (10/26)
Harlan McKosato: Film pays tribute to 'warrior' Elouise Cobell (10/26)
Haskell University expelled student who was victim of assault (10/26)
Jury deliberates verdicts in armed standoff on tribal territory (10/26)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe gets court date in gaming lawsuit (10/26)
Tule River Tribe gains support for moving casino to a new site (10/26)
First Nations casino in Saskatchewan pays out $1.5M jackpot (10/26)
Dakota Access ramps up spending on lobbying and politicians (10/25)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe presses Obama on Dakota Access (10/25)
Indian National Finals Rodeo gears up for big crowds in Vegas (10/25)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates benefit from Clinton landslide (10/25)
Lakota Country Times: Shooting pushes Pine Ridge into action (10/25)
Native Sun News Today: Sisters want police help for stolen car (10/25)
Delphine Red Shirt: Teach the language like our elders wanted (10/25)
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux Tribe keeps making bad decisions (10/25)
Cronkite News: Fighting the opioid epidemic in Indian Country (10/25)
Harlan McKosato: Just what are Indians supposed to look like? (10/25)
ICT series continues with George W. Bush's sovereignty gaffe (10/25)
United South and Eastern Tribes open sovereignty conference (10/25)
Navajo Nation in discussions to cultivate hemp on reservation (10/25)
Eastern Cherokees looking to build data center on reservation (10/25)
Cherokee Nation schedules job fairs for newest gaming facility (10/25)
California Nations Indian Gaming Association chooses director (10/25)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe faces legal fight over modest casino (10/25)
Donald Trump embraces big energy projects like Dakota Access (10/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe can pursue own #NoDAPL complaint (10/24)
Democracy Now: New resistance in fight against Dakota Access (10/24)
Tim Giago: No one feels honored by racist & offensive mascots (10/24)
Mark Trahant: North Dakota takes #NoDAPL battle to extremes (10/24)
Cedric Sunray: Cherokee Nation tries to 'Trump' Indian arts law (10/24)
Native Sun News Today: Republican won't agree to tribal forum (10/24)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe opens nursing home (10/24)
Clara Caufield: Tribute to outgoing Northern Cheyenne leader (10/24)
Mary Annette Pember: North Dakota on #NoDAPL crackdown (10/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.