SAGPRA Ethics?

I also asked Peter about my other question, are the O’odham actually biologically descendant of the Hohokam? He shrugged and said “they say they are”. He mentioned the lack of real evidence to establish a very clear chronology of the settlements of the area. Quite frankly, I don’t think given the current archaeological evidence we can ever make solid determination. Especially with the rise of SAGPRA, this issue has come into question. Should the modern O’Odham have a legitimate claim to the burials of Hohokam if there is no solid evidence establishing them as the historic next of kin? This is further ethically compounded when you take into account the removal of archaic and prehistoric (Clovis) era human remains from what is now the nation. Do the O’odham have a legitimate claim to these artifacts? Should they have a claim to any and all artefacts found on what is now their reservation, including Spanish and American historical artefacts? Who knows if there is a right answer to these questions?

Lastly, I asked if there is any current DNA work being done on the artefacts or the modern O’odham themselves. This may be the only way to establish a link between these two groups as well as provide invaluable evidence that could be vital to healthcare of an medically underprivileged group. He mentioned how there is currently a complete moratorium on all genetic research on both of these groups. They discussed it as a tribe for the same reasons and decided against it. There was no rational provided for this decision but there is the growing trend against such work calling it “bio-colonialism”.

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