As I was mowing the grass for one of our cemeteries here in Emmet County, a tourist came up to me and asked if their were real graves at each cross and tombstone. He was serious and I got annoyed. Why would I be out in the hot sun mowing fake graves? This man was completely astonished real Indian graves were right there in front of him, with an Indian telling him this. Before I got any more annoyed and ended up saying something in appropriate, I left him.
But many people have this perception that Indians are no longer in existence, or only on reservations, removed to some remote area nobody but Indians venture to. True, reservations are where many Indians live today, but Indians and their ancestors are all over the country. The graves of Indians is a subject I want to bring more attention to at NAGPRA at 20yrs this November. What can be done to protect Indian burials? That’s the question that needs answering.