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Stop the digging on scared ground

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THIS PETITION ASKS THAT THE DIGGING OF SACRED GROUNDS BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY! THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONCERNS THE UNEARTHING OF OUR ANCESTORS... On the site beside the Scioto River, the archaeologists had found fire pits dating to about 550 B.C., shards of pottery, even traces of an ancient building. This week, Ryan Weller and his team found something more: a human skeleton, buried on the riverbank by his or her loved ones as long as 2,500 years ago. What\'s more, the skeleton might have company. The archaeologists methodically scraping away the centuries at the Columbus Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant, 6977 S. High St., said yesterday that they have uncovered a prehistoric burial site. (SO WHY HAVE THEY NOT CEASED DIGGING) Only one burial has been confirmed so far, with a skeleton that appears to be largely intact, Weller said. Another spot appears to be the remains of a cremated person, and clues in the soil suggest that other people might have been buried nearby. Possibly up to nine, Weller said. Weller, a 40-year-old archaeologist, had been assessing the property\'s historical value before Columbus builds a pumping station there. His company, Weller Associates Inc. of Grandview Heights, has been working with the city for about two years, checking out various locations as construction progresses. A lot of times, we\'re out digging empty holes,he said. Rick Tilton, a spokesman for the city\'s public-utilities department, said the find shouldn\'t derail the pumping station because the burial area is on the fringe of the job site. Weller focused on the latest site while walking along the Scioto. He noticed discolorations in the eroded bank that appeared, to his experienced eye, to be the cross-section of a pit of some kind. In the two months since then, the team has uncovered five fire pits, which served as heat sources and ovens for those who lived there. The spot wasn\'t rich in artifacts, so crew members were stunned when they began digging in another pit and found the skeleton. We had no idea this was going to be here, Weller said. The site appears to have been a seasonal encampment for people who lived during the Early Woodland time period, Weller said. They likely were drawn there for a variety of reasons, ranging from good hunting or fishing grounds to bountiful nut supplies. The team hasn\'t dated the human remains, but the nearby fire pits found at the same depth date to about 550 B.C. There were people living all over Ohio in that time period,said Bradley T. Lepper, curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society. What makes this period so interesting is, it is the first farmers in the Ohio Valley. They were still hunting, gathering and fishing, but they had begun the process of settling down into villages and growing crops. Weller said he found no evidence that the burials on the site involved mounds seen at other sites. This may be something that predated the Mound Builders, he said. The team will spend the next several weeks excavating the site. What will happen to the human remains is unclear. Weller said myriad agencies determine where they end up, whether in museums or with a particular American Indian group. The negotiations are complex and sensitive, he said. (WHERE ARE OUR PEOPLE STOPPING THE CONTINUED DIGGING OF THIS SITE) Much older human remains have been found in Ohio, but Lepper said all such finds are incredibly valuable. It\'s always interesting to find any traces of the past, especially from a time so distant,Lepper said. Opening windows on the past like this are extraordinary events. (DESECRATING SACRED GROUND IS INTERESTING) WHERE IS THE RIGHT OF THESE PEOPLE TO UNEARTH OUR ANCESTORS WHY IS THIS BEING PERMITTED WHEN WILL THIS END WHY HAS THE DIGGING NOT BEEN CEASED IMMEDIATELY AS SOON AS NATIVE AMERICAN BONES WERE FOUND WOULD WE BE PERMITTED TO TAKE A JCB AND DIG UP A WHITE MANS GRAVEYARD COULD WE DIG UP THEIR ANCESTORS AND POST NEWS ARTICLES COMMENTING ON HOW INTERESTING IT ALL IS SIGN THIS PETITION, ONLY TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! This petition is being forwarded to State Organizations, newspapers plus the Notoweega Mingo Nation OH, Morning Star Shawnee Nation OH, Alleghenny Nation OH, Kispoko Nation OH, Chief Hawk Pope, Noah Armstrong, Walter T Renz etc etc, PLEASE...SIGN THIS PETITION!! GRAVE DESECRATION It is important not only morally, but for our survival into the future. If all of our burial sites are dug up, there will be no ancestor beings traveling the Spirit Journey from this world to the next. Then they would be unable to come to our ceremonies to instruct us on how to live. The continued desecration of our sacred burial sites is the very destruction of Indian people. As Native Americans we cannot begin to correct our personal lives regarding alcohol, drug and domestic abuse until we are ensured the rights to protect our dead. Uniontown, Kentucky ~ January 1987 The First national recognition of Native American grave desecration was in Uniontown, Kentucky in 1987, when over 1,200 graves were destroyed and looted. An anonymous call alerted State Police, the digging was halted and three men were arrested. At this time in Kentucky, as in many states, it was only a misdemeanor to dig grave sites, and the maximum sentence was five days in jail and a $100 fine. In this case, the site was on private property and the men had allegedly paid the farmer to dig there. However, through the efforts of Native Americans Dennis Banks, Bill Thomas, Chico Dulak, the Sate Police Officer who halted the dig, Miles Hart, and the national attention that resulted, Governor Wallace was pressured to pass an emergency bill making grave desecration a felony in Kentucky. Edwardville, Illinois The thousand year old remains of Native Americans discovered near Glen Carbon, Illinois have been used as fill for a new highway. Officials of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency gave the Illinois Department of Transportation permission to use the remains site as a borrow pit saying that archeological surveys determined that the site was not worth saving. Permission to rebury the remains was denied after state officials decided that it was of no archeological value. Skamokawa, Washington 30 years ago the grave site of Chinook Chief Skamokawa was plundered, and the peace medal he received from Lewis and Clark along with other personal belongings were taken. Last year the district that owns the land where Skamokawa\'s village and burial grounds lie proposed an interpretive hiking trail for recreational use that would run through the center of the burial area. The Chinook Nation fought Wahkiakum County Port District #2 to stop the trail accessing the site used by tribal members for religious ceremonies. In March, the State Shoreline Hearing Board ordered the trail rerouted. there was to be no access to the site from the trail, and no signs identifying the specific location would be permitted. But the port\'s latest action violates that order. April 19, 1994, the port voted to continue with plans disregarding the independent archeological survey and rerouting of the trail as requested by the hearing board. The Commissioner suggested that the Chinook Nation should think about paying for the survey themselves. Archeological Involvement in Grave Desecration Archeologists are enabled through license and federally-funded grants to desecrate sacred burial grounds. They argue that skeleton remains and artifacts are their discoveries and insist that these be unearthed for study, public display and educational purposes contending that the public would be \"losing out\" by reburying these finds. Archeologists oppose the wishes of Native peoples to have their ancestor\'s remains returned to the ground in a dignified and respectful way. Native Americans today can teach the public about ancient American Indian life, what they ate, how they lived. Our elders will teach our children about their ancestors and practice the teachings and customs that were passed down through the generations. they can teach them the bead work of the Great Grandmothers and the sacredness of the buffalo hunt. it is not necessary to dig up our dead to know what type of vegetation or animal they ate. Laws and Double Standards The Freedom of Religion Act does not apply to grave desecration. In Indiana it is still only a misdemeanor to steal from a Native American burial site, unless it is on private property at which point it becomes looting and thievery. The stolen remains are returned to the property owner, not to the respective tribes to which they belong. The Archeological Resources Protection Act bars interstate trafficking in stolen articles. From lack of enforcement, looters not only go unpunished but receive great monetary rewards from museums and archeologists. Much effort goes into reburying remains when a cemetery is dug up, but the government does not allow Native Americans the right to do the same for our ancestors when they are disturbed. State law makes it a felony to rebury Indian remains unearthed during state sponsored projects, such as borrow pit excavations or highway construction. Instead the bones become permanent property of the state. Fines and/or jail time are automatically levied against anyone who so much as pushes over a gravestone in a cemetery. Apparently it is not against the law to use Native remains as \"fill\" for a borrow pit, but it is illegal to provide a decent reburial. Dennis Banks on Grave desecration: Since 1968 when the American Indian Movement was formed, we began immediately a campaign to halt any digging of Native bones, including archeological digs. We have also taken a position against the so called \"amateur archeologists\" who search for artifacts to sell or add to their collections. We maintain that these groups are actually graverobbers, regardless if they have a license to dig, have paid to dig on someone\'s property or hold a college degree in archeology or anthropology. The disturbance of burial sites challenges the very nature of who we are as human beings and our value system of what is held sacred. For the last few hundred years, Native grave sites in North America have been targeted by the archeological profession and by the \"pothole diggers\" who rob artifacts for profit. Before the coming of the white man, we never worried about the bones of our ancestors. We never thought that our people would ever be disturbed. Now we are concerned and worried. From state to state laws to protect Native grave sites and sacred places have been almost nonexistent. In most states grave desecration is simply a misdemeanor. And states, such as Kentucky, have passed recent legislation upgrading grave desecration to a felony. However, this legislation only refers to state and federal land. Owners of private property can dig or give or sell permission to others to dig. The problem of enforcement is an issue, as is the protection of the sites before they are actually disturbed. Traditional Native beliefs hold that the very essence of our soul is spirituality. Our beliefs are rooted in Mother Earth -- It is the Earth that provides all we need to survive. We believe in the Great Spirit -- the Creator. We believe that there is a passage of ceremony when we end one phase on this planet that we call Mother Earth and go into another phase. To many people, that phase is death. But for Native people it is a phase that we go through; that we simply are here for a certain period of time and then we are transformed by thought and by energy to another plane. That phase of transition is passing to the Spirit Journey. The Spirit Journey may take four days, eight days, or it may take months or years; but one of the basic beliefs is that our journey will continue as long as our bones are returning to Mother Earth. Should a disturbance ever occur, our journey is interrupted. So for the many skeletal remains of our people, the journey has been interrupted. The journey will never be completed until their bones are returned completely back to the Earth. This is a very strong belief that we have. WE URGE THIS ADMINISTRATION TO ENCOURAGE THE STATES TO ADOPT LAWS MAKING IT A FELONY TO DISTURB OR ROB THE GRAVES OF OUR ANCESTORS. WE URGE THE HALT OF ANY FEDERAL MONIES TO NATIONAL PROJECTS IN WHICH ARCHEOLOGISTS ARE ENGAGED IN DIGGING OPERATIONS, AND WE WANT CURRENT OPERATIONS TO CEASE IMMEDIATELY. WE URGE THAT NO FURTHER FUNDING BE GRANTED TO SCHOOLS WHOSE DEPARTMENTS OF ARCHEOLOGY AND/OR ANTHROPOLOGY REQUIRE THE HANDLING OF HUMAN REMAINS. WE URGE THE PASSAGE OF FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATION PROTECTING NATIVE BURIAL GROUNDS EQUAL TO THE LAWS PROTECTING NON-NATIVE GRAVES AND CEMETERIES, AND THE PROTECTION OF BURIAL MOUNDS AND OTHER SACRED SITES FROM LOOTING OR DAMAGE. WE URGE THE ENACTMENT OF A FREEDOM OF RELIGION PROTECTION ACT TO SAFEGUARD CEREMONIAL AND BURIAL SITES AND PREVENT THE DESTRUCTION OR POLLUTION OF THE SURROUNDING HABITAT. WE REQUEST THE RETURN OF ALL NATIVE AMERICAN ARTICLES, HUMAN REMAINS, SACRED OBJECTS AND ARTIFACTS NOW IN THE POSSESSION OF ARCHEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS AND MUSEUMS TO THEIR RESPECTFUL TRIBES. WE REQUEST THE REVERSAL OF ANY LAWS RESTRICTING THE RIGHT TO PROPERLY REBURY ANY UNEARTHED OR DISTURBED HUMAN REMAINS AND ARTIFACTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR OWN TRADITIONS. Only together do we have a voice, forward this petition to all you know to gain further signatures


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