I consider myself to have had a pretty good education K-12. I went to a school that ran on a college point system and went to school two days a week (Unless I had my theater class.), it prepared me for college. I had many good teachers. My favorite subjects were history and social studies, I blew through those lessons and books, and would often be reading the books for a grade or two ahead. (Clearly I should have seen my future career coming). I learned about the history of my country as much as one could really learn at that age, short of going to a special course on the subject. I grew up in an area with nineteen federally recognized tribes, and eighteen reservations,within the county, I knew about the reservations in the area, what the casinos were, I knew the names of a lot of the tribes,but not all of them. I knew that the reservations were, in a sense, bad, not that the people ON the reservations were bad, but that the reason the reservations were A THING was bad. I just didn’t entirely know why, and because of my youth, my naivety about the subject, and the fact that it was something that was never really taught in school, I never really dug into the WHY of why the reservations being a thing was not good. In fact, I never learned much about any of the tribes in my county, past their interactions with the Spanish and their missions, and the settlers that came to the area. We did learn about the missions. We learned a lot about them. We made models of the missions out of sugar cubes and Popsicle sticks, a very traditional California schooling thing to do, (Although I should say my class made them. I was sick that week and never made one myself.) and at one point in my K-12 school career I did get a hint of the idea that maybe, yeah, we kind of completely subjected the Native people of the country to the worst treatment ever. (That’s the nicer, classier way of saying it. Also a massive understatement, I know, stick with me here.)
I’ve said it before, archaeology draws certain types of people, although I don’t think I’ve ever elaborated on that topic. When I say certain types of people, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean that of all the people I have met in my time in the archaeology/anthropology world, there seems to be a quality to all of them that isn’t entirely able to be pin-pointed, but feels familiar, because I feel like I have that quality as well. (Nor am I implying that it is anything that makes us superior to everyone else, because it isn’t. Despite what seems to be a rather popular opinion, we are not all stuck up.) If I were to attempt to describe the quality, it would be pure curiosity. Curiosity about the world, about history, about mankind and how we got to where we are now, how our ancestors lived and died, with a keen interest, specifically, on the day to day life. We’re undeniably curious about humanity and how it connects, both to us and the world at large.
Hello all! I’m sorry I’ve been beyond awful at updating, but I’ve been rather busy. I’m on my way (Admittedly slowly.) to starting my bachelor’s degree in indigenous anthropology next fall and getting everything together has been …intense.
ANYWAY, today I wanted to talk about an issue that has been going one for ages and ages, is probably already talked to death, but is still a topic that never fails to rile me up and leave me silently seething; the taking of artifacts from either public or private land WITHOUT permission. (Yes, there is a difference. Yes it is a grey area, yes I will discuss that later on in the post.)