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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 12, 1999)
UNL, tribes’roles in
On Sept. 1, 1998, University of
Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor James
Moeser delivered a somber apology to
American-Indian leaders from across the
nation assembled on UNUs East Campus.
“I want to apologize personally and on
the behalf of the University of Nebraska
for the insensitive and grievous treatment
of physical remains on Native Americans
done in past decades in the name of sci
ence,” Moeser said.
Tribal leaders and members of the
American-Indian community accepted the
apology but saw it only as the first step in
the process that would eventually bring
their relatives’ remains home.
On Friday, more than a year after the
apology was made, the university took
another large step in returning the first of
the remains to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
and the Southern Ponca Tribe of
In doing so, university leaders sur
prised some American-Indian leaders who
had been skeptical about UNL’s apology
last September and its promises to return
the remains in a timely manner.
Since the revelation that American
Indian remains were being housed on
UNL’s campus, the university has made
attempts to turn over the remains it can in
accordance with federal law.
The university should be commended
for returning the remains while keeping a
watchful eye on the rules that govern their
Credit should also be given to
American-Indian leaders who weren’t sat
isfied with spoken promises.
Instead, the leaders held the university
accountable to its promises.
UNL still has several steps to take
before the issue of repatriating American
Indian remains is over.
Remains affiliated with other tribes are
going through the process of repatriation
Amencan-lndian leaders are trying to
identify which tribes have ancestors in a
group of more than 600 unaffiliated
remains still housed at UNL.
It’s likely that tribal and university
leaders will have to be patient while wad
ing through the bureaucracy that accom
panies returning the bones.
A memorial to honor the place where
American-Indian remains were incinerat
ed in the 1960s by a former anthropology
professor is still being designed.
The university should continue to pur
sue these projects with full force. Leaders
and members of the American-Indian
community should continue to be part of
By working together, more large steps
will be taken in the future.
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/MAti..THAT MUST HAVeN.
AIDS in Africa
The misinformed view and pater
nalistic voice expressed in “Our View:
Aids in Africa” (DN, Sept. 27) is typi
cal of how most of the mass media
distort African social realities. As
Africans who have to live with the
repercussions of these gross general
izations, we are offended and annoyed
by this simplistic opinion.
For the DN to generalize from
only one mysterious death of a
Zambian minister as indicative of
AIDS events on a continent four times
the size of the United States is poor
Why didn’t the DN also look at the
majority of countries on the continent
that are successfully combating
AIDS? There are a number of inter
vention programs in Uganda that are
significantly dropping the AIDS rate
throughout the country. Other coun
tries, like Zambia, Zimbabwe and
Malawi, have slowed if not stabilized
the growth rate of AIDS as well. The
truth is that 16 million people in
Africa are hllV-intected, not dead
from AIDS. Actual AIDS deaths are
about one-fifth to one-fourth of the
The DN says that Africans don’t
know how to prevent AIDS, and that
they “don’t even really know AIDS
Did the DN bother to consult or
even glance over any of the work done
by several hundred organizations
dealing with AIDS on the continent,
both African-sponsored and interna
tionally sponsored? Does the DN
know that the very week this view was
posted, in Lusaka (Zambia) the 11th
International Congress of AIDS in
Africa was held,and a representative
of every country on the continent
Apparently we do know that AIDS
exists and are dealing with it at an
institutional level and have been as a
continent for at least 11 years.
A major reason for the spread of
AIDS in Africa is poverty. Recently
the international community
acknowledged the direct link between
poverty and ill health. Most African
countries have to pay one-third to one
half of their foreign exchange earn
ings toward debt servicing. What do
you think would happen if all that
money were directed toward health
and education? If the DN wants to
help analyze the problem of AIDS in
Africa, debt cancellation is an issue it
should report about.
Finally, to suggest that the World
Health Organization should intervene
in our behavior is insulting; almost as
insulting as the paternalistic tone in
which you address our continent. The
status of AIDS in Africa today is the
product of the colonial legacy and a
function of international capitalism.
The true issue, therefore, is one of
African capacity, not African charac
ter or corruption as the DN suggests.
Please report on the basis of accurate
“There is no darkness like igno
African Student Association
I am responding to the column by
David Baker, “Flash causes trouble
on train ride to Zambia” (DN,
I am an African who has worked
extensively as a journalist, covering
the entirety of Africa and corre
sponding across other continents.
I viewed Baker’s column as full
of ethnocentrism and stereotyping.
We all know that Africa as a conti
nent is behind other continents in
terms of “what the western world
terms as western development.” But
to compare giving an African a few
mangoes with saving Baker’s life is
It is not a big deal, an African
seeing a mango. After all, they grow
almost everywhere within the sub
I’m concerned about the way
some Americans and Europeans have
painted a dark picture of the conti
nent and its people whenever they
pay a visit there. It is time that some
truths be known and such a malicious
tendency, aimed at degrading the
people and the continent at large, is
The fact is that while other races
were still living in caves, our African
ancestors had built great cities and
civilizations. The big question now
is: Where, how, when and why did
Africa lose it?
This is what anthropology stu
dents like Baker should concentrate
Africa has been dragged down by
the Western world, from the 15th cen
tury until today - through the slave
trade and colonialization.
And when we Africans started
claiming our rights 40 years ago, the
Western scramblers packed their
booty and left Africa to either swim
or drown in its own sweat.
Then they set out a new system to
ensure maximum exploitation of the
continent. All that changed when
they left was the packing of their
Africa is currently facing the
most and worst exploitation by the
Africans have been termed bar
barians, primitive people, people
without culture and what have you,
and it’s a pity that today some are still
attempting to classify us that way.
We are very optimistic the
prospect for Africa’s rebirth is being
enhanced day after day and time after
time. In Africa, what matters is the
African mind and the black man’s
identity. It is not long from now that a
story like “ thugs stepping right in
front of Baker’s face, ripping his bag
off and shouting at him, and then
Baker saving himself by giving them
mangoes” will be thrown in the dust
bin of history.
As a word of advice, David
Baker, try to become an impartial
anthropologist and a more balanced
minded person if you want to suc
ceed as an African expert.
Nelson Okuku Miruka
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