Too Much for the Average Indian, XI


Annette Arkeketa

I learn a new ceremony called repatriation
the sacred words are Public Law 101-601, burial site,
cultural affiliation, Indian tribe, dis-inter, re-inter, DNA,
molecular biology, unaffiliated remains, patrimony items,
funerary items.

The sacred song sung by our people is this:

            we belong to this earth
            not to steel drawers
            cardboard boxes
            to be probed and picked
            by man un-kind

            our children have forgotten us

"The People", "Human Beings", sit shelved and warehoused
in museums, in university school labs as science projects
held captive by institutional grave robbers.
Their bones smudged by pesticides.
Their clothes lifted by auction houses and gun shows.

We are commerce property worth more dead.

The archaeologist who handles native remains or repatriation
dies and is cremated.

From Too Much For The Average Indian by Annette Arkeketa

© 1999 Annette Arkeketa

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