Subject:         The 'Dig' In Townsend, TN Takes More Heat
   Date:         9 Mar 2000 19:28:23 -0000

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Subj: [CHERO-CULTURE] The "Dig" In Townsend, TN Takes More Heat
Date: 3/9/2000 1:53:01 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Rosie)

In front of signs that said ``No More Tears: Stop UT Grave Robbers,'' ``Save
the Ancestors: Stop the Road'' and ``Body-Theft is Not Science,'' UT
students heard about efforts to protest ``desecration'' of Native American
graves at Townsend.

Carl Two-Feathers Whitaker took the East Tennessee Native American Indian
Movement Support Group stand to the University of Tennessee campus on
Thursday to tell the students he respects the university, but wants his
ancestors respected as well.

At a demonstration organized by the AIM group, Earth First! and Amnesty
International, approximately 35 persons heard Two-Feathers speak in front of
the UT Student Center.

The problem revolves around a project of Tennessee Department of
Transportation to widen East Lamar Alexander Parkway from Kinzel Springs to
the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

UT Transportation Center was hired by T-DOT to make an archeological study
and is currently digging in three locations in Townsend.

Two-Feathers said another site, not deemed worthy of intense archaeological
study, that contains five acres is ``being tilled up. People are picking up
our ancestor's jaw bones and remains.''

He asked the UT group to ``talk to your people and please have some respect
for our ancestors' remains. Please leave our ancestors alone. Don't put them
in a museum for storage.''

That reference was to the fact that bones of hundreds of Native Americans
from previous digs are in the possession of McClung Museum, which is located
on the UT campus.

No bones have been removed from the Townsend dig. When a grave is found
under federal law the archaeologists must pull back and notify the Federal
Highway Administration. After the graves were found, FHA called a meeting
with T-DOT, the state archaeologists, Commission on Indian Affairs and
tribes involved. No decision has been made as to what to do with the graves
at this point.

After a brief speech in front of the student center, the group walked to
McClung Museum where Two-Feathers made a longer talk.

Two-Feathers told the assembly that people wouldn't like it if the Native
Americans dug up their grandmothers and took their jewelry.

`` Native Americans are still being pushed in a corner and kept down,'' he

What is advertised as the peaceful side of the Smokies now ``looks like a
bombing zone,'' he added.

Two-Feathers said that if people want information on Native Americans to
talk to those living, not dig up the dead.

`` I'm asking you if you have a heart and any blood running through your
body to think about this,'' he concluded.

Two members of Katuah Earth First! also spoke at the protest.

`` It's not a Native American issue,'' said Paloma Galindo. ``It's an issue
of respect.''

Her husband, Christ Irwin, said the Smokies have enough environmental
problems now, such as decreased air quality standards and trees dying, and
that the highway is not needed to funnel even more people into the park.

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