Opinion: Wiyot Tribe funerary objects not for sale

"As the tribal historic preservation officer for the Wiyot Tribe, I am concerned with the sale of items taken from Indian graves during the early part of the 20th century. While grave robbing was both common and legal at the time, the contemporary purchase of these items by collectors is deeply disturbing. Fortunately, both slate and federal law now prohibits disturbing and looting graves.

Many of these items were found in graves on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay. One of these sites (Tuluwat-67) is designated a National Historic Landmark. Tuluwat was also the site of an orchestrated massacre of the Wiyot during their annual World Renewal Ceremony the morning of Feb. 26, 1860.

University of California Berkeley archaeologist L. L. Loud excavated at Tuluwat in 1913. Those burial Items have since been repatriated to the tribe. Subsequent amateur excavation was conducted. . . Artifacts from these private collections are now apparently being sold at local shows and online. Most recently, a large collection, reportedly from dentist H. H. Stuart, was offered at the Mann Indian Art Show."

Get the Story:
Helene Rouvier: Tribal funerary items for sale (The Eureka Times-Standard 4/23)