LETTER: Show respect for dead by leaving their bones to rest in peace

Dear editor,

For hundreds of years, people have been digging up and discovering my ancestors, the American Indians, and disrespecting the cultural burial sites by building railroads and real estate on top of the soil where the spirits lay to rest.

Along the Missisquoi Ricer in northern Vermont, excavation of real estate yielded 30 bodies dating back about two centuries where construction has unearthed bones and relics. The Abenaki Nation has used everything from roadblocks to court action to stop constriction along the road, since the most recent site's first remains were discovered May 3. Rushlow, the acting chief, the other Abenaki and archeologists recovered bodies from the site, a 14-week process so upsetting that some of those involved became physical sick. So, I ask the people of all cultures, "How would you like it if we dug up your ancestors' spirits, skeletons, artifacts and regalia--not to mention whole burial sites and everything that is sacred in death?" "Can we display you as a relic for money?" "Show you like a clown?"

Pam Gard
graduate student


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