Thinking across Cultures

By Donald M. Topping; Doris C. Crowell et al. | Go to book overview

4
The Present Past: An Examination of Archaeological and Native American Thinking
Norman H. Watson Larry J. Zimmerman Patricia M. Peterson University of South Dakota
INTRODUCTION
The archaeological and anthropological community has seen a great deal of change during the past 2 decades in its concerns for the people it studies; the late 1960s saw an increasing American Indian militance which openly challenged anthropology's approach toward studying all aspects of Indian culture, including the treatment of human skeletal remains discovered by archaeologists. The late 1970s and early 1980s generally saw Indians avoiding militant confrontations in favor of face-to-face discussions with archaeologists. While archaeologists have modified their position that skeletal collections must be maintained for study, Indians feel that change is too slow or not happening at all. The issues are extremely complex, and Indians have leveled charges of racism, violation of ethics codes, and exploitation. Archaeologists have countered with charges that Indians are just seeking publicity and disrupting the free conduct of science, and that Indian concerns are political, not spiritual.Examination of written and spoken positions from both parties demonstrates that the conflict results in part from poor intercultural communication based on substantial world view differences, two of which are examined in this Chapter--law and time.Our purpose here is not an attempt to resolve this conflict. What we do hope to accomplish is to
1. lay a theoretical foundation for the examination of archaeological and Indian thinking related to the concepts of "law" and "time";
2. investigate the differences in thinking about law and time between these two groups within the context of the reburial issue; and

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