Saturday 9 July 2016

A Grave Robbery

    As a youngster, I developed a deep fascination and interest in American Indian culture.  I dreamed of being an archeologist discovering and digging up artifacts of ancient civilizations.  Of course, none of that ever happened, but even today that interest remains. 
    In 1982, I was told that my brother-in-law at the time, knew of a Native American gravesite.  If I remember correctly, some relative and his friends were over in Kentucky fishing in a river and a bone came sliding down the slope beside the river.  They investigated and found a hole dug in the hillside and more bones.  James had later gone out there with his relative and saw the site.
    My imagination was fired upon hearing the story, so the next time I went down to Indiana for a visit I asked if a trip out to the burial site could be arranged, and Jim took my mother and I over to see it.  We drove across the bridge to Kentucky, then down some country roads, walked through some old fields and woodlands, and got to the grave site.
    It seemed like a wonderful site to bury a loved one.  The slope of the hill overlooked a river below and in the distance, through the trees, you could see the Ohio River sprawling out in the west.
    But I was appalled at what I saw in the present day.   A small chunk of the slope had been carved away, and strewn around the area were human bones.  The grave robbers were only interested in the Indian artifacts which they could sell on the black market, and cared not at all for the human remains.
    My reaction to the Indian burial site was not at all what I had expected.  I thought it would be so interesting, but instead I found it depressing and disgusting, thanks to the tomb robbers, who cared nothing about the history or culture, only of money.
    I urged my brother-in-law to contact someone involved with Native American history to make them aware of the location of the grave, but I don’t know if he did or not.  Certainly, there wasn’t anything left of cultural or historical value on the hillside.
    I recently discovered some of my lost slides and these were among them.  They still generate a feeling of disgust after all these years.

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