|Destruction of Publically Funded Victoria County Texas
Site Data by Corps of Engineers and DuPont!
by David Calame, Sr. and Dr. Thomas Hester
Below I have attached an e-mail from prominent Texas archeologist , Dr. Thomas Hester. As many of you are aware , I am a strong property rights advocate . I believe also that private property rights are essential to free and worthwhile archeology in Texas and indeed, the whole country .
The letter Dr. Hester has sent out appears on it's face to try to intervene with the rights of the DuPont Corp. to do with its private property as it wishes , and , if that were the simple facts , then I would not support Dr. Hester's effort and purpose , feeling that restricting the DuPont Corp. would set a precedent that might some day be used against us all.
The qualifying factor in my support of Dr. Hester effort and purpose is the fact that Federal money, our money, was used to excavate the below mentioned site . I assume also that Federal money will be used to do the research needed and to pay for the curation of the remains and artifacts .
So, I totally support Dr. Hester's efforts and request that you folks do as well , after careful consideration of course . The precedent that we urgently need to defeat is the ability of Native American Tribes to silence true science with a simple and ridiculous claim of ancestry to individuals who died 7000 years ago . If we let this silliness come to pass, I fear we all are next . In my opinion , this IS the battle we need to fight now and it IS a must win ! Even you "out of state collectors" should help...because if Texas falls.. who is next??!! And to do so effectively , we need to join with all those who support the right to collect and who support true science and desire to know the truth about Texas' past, including the professional and avocational archeological community.
Over two years ago I realized collectors rights would soon be threatened and that archeology would suffer terribly if the right to collect in Texas was restricted . At that time I corresponded with many of you , asking you to agree to attend a "collectors conference" to discuss these very issues . At that time, I was unsuccessful pulling together even more than a few collectors . Things have changed boys......I was right and the time has come to stand up and fight.
Please consider helping as you can .
(email David from link at bottom of page, dr. Hester's appeal follows)
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
The purpose of this long email is to advise you of an imminent, precedent-setting threat to Texas archaeology. You are urged to write letters, emails, etc. to the individuals listed at the bottom, to making your opinion know - as this is a battle of public opinion.
The DuPont Plant at Victoria, Texas, is determined to re-bury, without analysis or publication, about 80 ancient burials excavated at site 41VT98. Most of these burials date to at least 7000 years ago, roughly 5000 B.C. Some of the burials were accompanied by ground and polished stone artifacts seldom found, and never before dated, on the Texas coast ("bannerstones," "Waco sinkers"), along with equally mystifying large chipped flint blades and a number of projectile points of an early form, again not previously dated or understood in the culture history of the region.
The site was excavated by Dr. Robert Ricklis, working for a private firm under contract with the Galveston Corps of Engineers. Federal money was used to excavate this site, and a programmatic agreement was signed with the Texas Historical Commission (State Historic Preservation Officer) to analyze and publish what was found. However, the COE has reneged on this agreement and has told DuPont that since the burials were found on their property, they could do with them as they wished (even though there had been extensive Federal involvement, permits, and monies).
Early on in this project, when Dr. Ricklis found some burials, the COE-Galveston consulted with the Caddo, Tonkawa, and Alabama-Coushatta - who were not interested in the situation. Subsequently, DuPont Corporation's "cultural sensitivity" officer from Denver has convinced the DuPont Victoria Plant manager, Mr. Bruce Chin, to rebury the entire site (not just the burials and grave goods) without analysis and publication. Mr. Chin has reportedly said, at a meeting attended by two archaeologists, that "science is not important; what needs to be addressed is the spiritual needs of the Native Americans."
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has not made a sustained effort to make the Galveston COE live up to their legal agreement. Indeed, the Galveston COE archaeologists, along with DuPont, sent out notices to dozens of American Indian tribes (non-Texas), and on February 12 or 13, 2002, at least 10 tribal representatives will attend a meeting at DuPont, paid for by DuPont, at which l (one) archaeologist (Dr. James Bruseth of THC) is invited.
DuPont has been convinced by its advisors that the American Indian community will create a lot of negative publicity for DuPont unless they follow this unprecedented (in Texas, at least) course of action. And, of course, the Galveston COE will not have to pay (as they had promised) for analysis, publication, and curation. The Galveston COE has been very partial to the American Indian view, and indeed expelled Dr. Ricklis from one "consultation" meeting because he dared question this "process." He is also under a "gag order" from the Galveston COE. Again, your tax dollars at work! This all sounds a bit Taliban to me...
Bottom line: unless you write, email or otherwise raise hell, DuPont will rebury the 5000 B.C. burials and artifacts, and all non-burial artifacts found in the sequence above the burials...without benefit of analysis or publication. The COE has avoided folllowing the procedures of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA, 1990), and has invoked Sec. 106 of the NEPA Act of 1972 to enable this chicanery.
You should provide input to DuPont (and to THC; see below) about their true constituency...the people of Texas, the American consumers, and Federal taxpayers.
Do not let them be swayed by non-Texas American Indian groups with political and religious agendas.
Unless this is reversed, the DuPont Corporation has taken a chapter of the book of Texas prehistory (one provided by Federal tax dollars) and destroyed it...all in the name of political correctness.
The owner/publisher of the Victoria Advocate, who strongly opposes DuPont's actions, urges that you copy her with your letters and with permission for them to appear in the Advocate, one of the major newspapers of Texas. Send these to Kay McHaney, Victoria Advocate, Victoria, TX 77901 (better to use email: email@example.com.).
Other copies of your letter must go to:
F. Lawerence Oaks
Bruce Chin, Plant Manager
Col. Leonard D. Waterworth
And, of course, any congressman (state or federal), senator, governor, or other individual that you feel needs to be aware of this travesty.
Many of you are aware of Kennewick Man, a human skeleton just a bit older than these, found in Washington State. The COE and Federal agencies (especially the National Park Service) intimidated archaeologists, refused cooperation, destroyed the find-spot, etc., until archaeologists and physical anthropologists took them to Federal court. A ruling is not yet final, but the Federal judge has been harshly critical of the actions of these Federal agencies. Go to:
If DuPont as a corporate entity can thumb its nose at science, and yield to special interest groups at VT98, what is to prevent the destruction of Texas archaeology in the future?
Thomas R. Hester,
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