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Monday, December 6, 2021

BONE EMPIRES: the dehumanising force of the photograph

 The key words: dehumanize, dead, Indians

 

In the 2016 book ‘Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums’, Samuel J Redman notes: “The campaign to preserve and collect was viewed as a race against time; bone empires benefited from this powerful sentiment by conceptualising indigenous and ancient bodies as a limited and scientifically valuable resource.”

READ: Native Americans and the dehumanising force of the photograph | Wellcome Collection

When Museums Rushed to Fill Their Rooms With Bones

YES: When Museums Rushed to Fill Their Rooms With Bones

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The history of these collections is dramatic, occasionally punctuated by unexpected twists. The story emerges from an ongoing competition to establish the largest and most prestigious museums in cities across the United States. At times driven by both ego and intellect, scientists established a new field as they collected, their studies working to shape ideas about race and what it means to be human. For scientists who collected the dead, the desire to obtain remains for growing bone rooms often suspended or displaced codes of ethical behavior. Museum curators, as well as amateur collectors, competed and collaborated to understand the body as a scientific object; at the same time, visitors to museums that displayed bodies were continually enthralled, almost surprised, by the humanity of ancient and recent bodies they found exhibited before them.

This is an adapted excerpt from Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums, published by Harvard University Press.

 

 

 

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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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