I sent this to the Chattanooga Times
some time in the past. It was in relation to the Kennewick man controversy.
If at some time thousands of years from now, you dig up my bones and find other artifacts with them, you have my permission to study them at length. I would insist that you do so if you know little to nothing about what was the United States of America or a city called Chattanooga.
If over the passage of time all knowledge of the people of this city, their culture and way of life, and their connection to the larger culture we called America is lost, then I would think it is your duty as well as any human being to learn all you can from my bones and any artifacts you find.
The holocaust that came to the ancestors of Native Americans when Europeans invaded the Americas 500 years ago is similar to what happen to my ancestors 2000 years ago when the Romans came to my ancestors’ village. The major difference was that brutality of the Romans was greater than that of the Europeans and the events were not recorded for history as well as what happen to the ancestors of Native Americans was documented. Because of this documentation the culture, language, and even names and lives of individual Native Americans whose tribes or clans have disappeared will be known as long as our current civilization continues. As for my ancestors, I only know little to nothing of their language, culture, and nothing of were the village actually was located.
For this is what separates us from the other animals: “Our ability to accessorize,” and our ability to remember and know all ancestors of all people of the world. For as long as we remember people and their culture, they are not completely dead – they still live.