Why it is important to be sensitive to the feelings

Of indigenous people, when doing archaeology or work on ancient DNA.  Because sometimes they’re in a position to stop you.  But shouldn’t you really, really care about hurting their feelings, when you find that they didn’t emerge from a giant peach or whatever?

I can’t see why.

Tell the truth.


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27 Responses to Why it is important to be sensitive to the feelings

  1. Olof says:

    Any examples of this happening?

  2. bob sykes says:

    US Indians have by an large suppressed DNA sampling of Indians in this country. Warren was matched against South American Indians.

    • josh says:

      I took a class on pre-Columbian Amerindians in college 20 years ago. There were a couple of Indians that sat in the front row and constantly argued with the professor about the existence of giant lizard thunderbirds or whatever. Sweet old German professor would politely agree to disagree and then move on. It got pretty funny.

  3. Game Over says:

    Watched a documentary on NAGPRA once and thought, isn’t there anyone in the Native American community who is actually interested in science more than ancient hokey religion?

    • Rosenmop says:

      Ancient hokey indigenous religions are more stylish than science.

      • Unladen Swallow says:

        Ancient hokey religions are magically impervious to denigration by modern day academics as opposed to Christianity which academics find is just too crazy and ridiculous. Plus ancient hokey religions teach us that their practitioners were perfect innocent lambs in an Eden like paradise till evil white male patriarchal oppressors showed up.

        • Rosenmops says:

          Correct. But it is “evil white male patriarchal COLONIZING oppressors”.
          At my university there is an effort underway to “decolonize” and “indigenize” the place.

          White people are indigenous to Europe but it is not correct to mention that. And Europe probably won’t let us back in if the decolonizing effort in the New World is successful.

          • lhtness says:

            The key point seems to be that you’re supposed to accept decolonization into your heart as your personal lord and savior. (Well, probably not savior, as their religion is short on redemption. But definitely lord.)

            • Rosenmops says:

              Yes..quite so.

              When the song/poem “Desiderata” was played on the radio in the early 70’s I was young and naive and believed that what the song said was true:

              “You are a child of the universe.
              No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.”

              But after we accept decolonization into our hearts we come to understand that we definitely do NOT have a right to be here!

    • Christopher B says:

      My second hand observations are they mostly have little interest in two specific topics.

      DNA research, because successfully genotyping tribes, or even just AmerIndian markers, would cut out the (probably) quite lucrative monopoly the tribes have on establishing who is in or out based on genealogical records that they control.


      Any anthropology or historic DNA genotyping that would even hint at the possibility that there have been multiple migrations into the American continent and jeopardize the ‘First Peoples’ schtick.

      • Frau Katze says:

        It’s a huge thing in Canada because we don’t a pool of angry resentful blacks yet (give our idiot govt time though). Plus I think they are a higher fraction of the population than in the US.

        A friend told me her father (a high school math teacher) was thinking of early retirement because of the crap going on about “indiginizing” everything.

        • Toddy Cat says:

          One of the most hilarious things about the post-1960’s world was the search by local elites in other countries for their own “Blacks” to agonize over and uplift. I remember French Canadians being auditioned for the role in Canada in the 1970’s, but I guess that they turned out to be too white. Indians are much better, obviously.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Yep, way too white. Just more colonizers.

            Things can’t be so bad for natives as their population is actually increasing.

          • Rosenmops says:

            Pierre Trudeau solved the problem by importing a lot of people from Jamaica. They mostly settled in Toronto. His son is busy importing Somalis and Nigerians. His minister of immigration is a Somali.

    • magusjanus says:

      Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

      (You’d think they above all others would have learned that lesson)

  4. Young says:

    Game Over: ‘Any Indians interested in science more than hokey religion?’ Maybe not many, but the same question could be asked of the general population.

    • Logic says:

      Exactly. I’m surrounded by creationists on both the left and right. Even our host is religious. Dealing with our mortality has wired the majority of our brains to be irrational.

      • Frau Katze says:

        It’s not that simple. A belief that higher powers are involved in punishing you for your misdeeds can be very depressing. Atheism would be preferable.

        A worse case was husband of L M Montgomery who wrote “Anne of Green Gables” and whole bunch of other books set in Prince Edward Island.

        He was a minister in the Presbyterian Church that believed in the concept of the “elect.” Only the elect would see heaven. He became convinced he wasn’t part of the “elect” and had eternal hellfire to look forward to. He became extremely depressed and got so bad he could no longer work (her income from writing was sufficient to support the family, including two sons).

        Another person who would be better off as an atheist. No doubt he was prone to depression biologically and this was well before antidepressants were discovered.

        If you try to convince yourself that there are no gods in cases like this, the gods reply “Nice try, you know it isn’t so.”

        • Logic says:

          Yes, if the irrationality of your brain causes to have a belief system the leads to torment and depression it will be a bad thing. It isn’t like that for the vast majority of believers. Most think they and their loved ones won’t really die, that they will meet again, and that there is a greater power who loves and cares for them.

          That’s a pretty big evolutionary advantage for an animal that evolved a part of the brain that allows it to understand time and therefore it’s own mortality.

          • Frau Katze says:

            A lot of religions in history have nasty stuff, like human sacrifice. You’re too used to the (relatively) moderate Judaism and Christianity (no matter how extreme the Jew or Christian, human sacrifice is not conceivable).

            I can’t see what evolutionary advantage human sacrifice would have. I suppose the actual numbers were small, but still. It might be a side effect of the human brain trying to figure out what’s going on. I suppose they thought it would be a net positive.

            • Zeinish says:

              Whole tribe gets together for a fun BBQ and delicious long pork, what can be more natural? What not to like?

            • Logic says:

              Human and animal sacrifice was done to win god(s) favor so it gave people hope. People without hope tend to have poor outcomes, so this is a very powerful thing. Blood magic seems to be a common thing in a lot of religions. Abraham was going to kill one of his own children before god stepped in and said it was just a test.

              Judaism and Islam still practice animal sacrifice. In Christianity, Jesus was the blood sacrifice. Hence Christians don’t practice animal sacrifice.

              We know from twin studies that religiosity is strongly heritable. Religions have always attempted to explain the unknown, but that isn’t the main purpose of them IMO. The main purpose is hope for the future and denial of death.

          • Zeinish says:

            This is sign of clinical depression, not faith. Depressed believer fears divine judgement and eternal hell fire after death, depressed atheist fears being alone in nothingness of the void and eternal nonexistence after death. Hard to judge what feels worse.

            Meanwhile, normal believers rejoice when they contemplate the reward that awaits them and the punishment that awaits the unbelievers, and normal atheists cheer up when they contemplate that there are is only sky above them and they are masters of their own fate.

  5. Woof says:

    Its Marxism 101. Designate the dominate group as the “Oppressors”, and a potentially useful, but dependent, minority group as the “Oppressed”. Then use the “Oppressed” group to front your attempts to silence, de-platform or otherwise destroy your opponent. Any attempt to defend yourself gets recast as a racist/sexist/xxxist attack on the front group. Its worked remarkably well for far too long.

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