A Singular Empathy
An Animistic Understanding within a Dualist Culture
Keywords:ancestors, human remains, museums, animism, archaeology, museum displays
The display of ancestral bones in museums cannot and does not compensate for the way in which our society dysfunctionally copes with death. If museums and archaeologists are to contribute positively to the wellbeing of our people, it is not by putting bones in display cases as if they were potsherds, or using publicity to get gallery visitors by suggesting they are murder victims, detailing the post mortem as if they were public property not persons, or evading questions about the hundreds of undocumented bones kept in untidy stores, without funding for either study or proper preservation; that is not an expression of healthy integration. What our society needs is examples of practical respect for the dead.
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