A Whatcom Human Rights Conference was held Jan. 16 at Whatcom Community College. There, an elder of the Lummi Nation gave
a presentation on cultural genocide. She discussed the improper use of aboriginal customs and objects without consent. People
must try to understand cultural differences.
An example of cross-cultural differences involves Kennewick Man. Scientists
want to study his remains while various Indian tribes want to bury them according to custom. When the remains of our fallen
comrades are found on distant battlefields we want them to be properly identified and interred with full military honors.
Several Indian tribes believe that Kennewick Man is an ancestor of theirs. They believe that the proposed research
will desecrate his remains. Does scientific research and discovery out weigh the respect and dignity that should be extended
to our predecessors?
Our need to understand and respect cultural differences must be maintained. Yet scientists
need to study these remains in order to better understand who we are and how we have changed over the centuries. The need
for scientific study must not set aside the Indians' cultural needs in such a manner as to invite cultural genocide.