THE RED POWER OF VINE DELORIA, JR.
Had the tribes been given the choice of fighting the cavalry or the anthropologists, there is little doubt as to whom they would bare chosen . . . A warrior killed in battle could always go to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Where does an Indian laid low by an anthro go? To the library?
-- Vine Deloria, Jr. ( 1988)
THE 1971 DIG in Welch, Minnesota, was going pretty much like all others, mostly dust and discouragement, but the students still felt lucky to be there. They slaved for weeks, learning to move dirt scientifically. They dug in square pits, wrote detailed fieldnotes, and took routine photographs. They screened everything, picking out even the tiniest bones and artifacts. They catalogued and classified, looking for clues to what life had been like in the ancient Indian village that once stood here.
Then the Indians showed up. Representing a new protest group called "AIM"--the American Indian Movement--they confiscated excavation equipment, burned the fieldnotes, and backfilled the excavation trenches. Clyde Bellecourt, their leader, announced that the Indians of Minnesota were deeply offended because archaeologists were disturbing graves of their ancestors. No more digging would be permitted.