A Native American heritage advocacy group dramatically shut down the auction of a human skull before it was battered in North Carolina this past weekend.
On Friday, Crystal Cavalier-Keck Supporters of the Saponi Native Occaneechi Tribe have uploaded a TikTok video about the Mebane Antique Auction Gallery in North Carolina where a 600-year-old native skull is being sold.
“There’s nothing we can do in North Carolina,” she said. “The bid is already $1,700.”
According to local WRAL outlets, the skull received a high bid of $1,900 online before the auction even started on Saturday.
“I find it disgusting that the owner of this art auction house is selling Native American bones,” Cavalier-Keck continued.
She said she was unsure of the true origin of the skull. but said it looked like it belonged to a little girl. And it’s part of real estate sales.
A spokesman for the local sheriff’s office in Orange County said. News & Observer that they investigated the matter before Saturday after being contacted by government officials who got wind of the sale But they argue that the skulls are too old to violate recent laws banning the extraction, sale or purchase of Native American remains. (Some experts dispute such interpretations of the law.)
On Saturday, Cavalier-Keck has uploaded more videos of her urgent mission to stop the sale of skulls.
“I just don’t know where this human is who owns this business to sell people’s bones. Do you want someone selling your ancestral bones?” she said on the video in the morning driving to the auction house.
the protest took place The auction house even before the event started. The North Carolina State Department of Archeology was contacted with concern several days ago. News & Observer report, and indigenous peoples and advocacy groups gathered in the gallery on the day of the auction. Local tribal lawyers also contacted the auction house asking them to stop the sale.
Then, while other bidders closed the auction, the owner of the auction house suddenly announced in the room that the skull was no longer for sale. News & Observer Reported in an interview with The Daily Beast, Cavalier-Keck It said the items, which were in glass cases without lids to protect the public, were promptly removed and given to her so she could return them to tribal members in Canada. where the skull may have originated
“People can stare at it. So we wanted the body to be covered up as a sign of respect and dignity… Even if this is another nation But these are our relatives,” Cavalier-Keck said of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
She said she spoke to Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act representatives to help with what to do with the skull and how to get it back to its proper owner.
follow News & ObserverSkull’s owner now lives in North Carolina. Having bought it in Canada in the 1960s, Cavalier-Keck told The Daily Beast that the owners contacted the auction house because they were trying to shrink their land. But they were happy to return the skull to its original owner after learning the activists were selling it.
“According to my understanding The original owners wanted to do the right thing with the remains and give them to the tribe that owns them,” she said.
The skull isn’t the only controversial selling item. Cavalier-Keck It is said that there is a work of art of enslaved men. Jim Crow figurines of black women, native children’s moccasins. and an alleged photograph of a Native American code talker. Although the mission of Cavalier-Keck is to stop selling skulls. But she ultimately won the auction for $220 for the Lakota Nation Ghost Dance regalia to prevent it from being culturally appropriate (Cavalier-Keck’s husband, Jason Keck of Creole Choctaw Louisiana descent, told The Daily. Beast how the regalia was worn at spiritual festivities at a time when many Native Americans in the West were forced to assimilate. Sometimes during celebrations, parties wore The costume will faint and die. and regalia are often buried with the person or passed on to other family members).
“I can’t even imagine having that magical object in my house or even trying to … wear it,” Cavalier-Keck said. “That was sacred. No one should touch it and don’t wear it.”
The Mebane Antique Auction Gallery did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request on Wednesday.
However, in the comments News & ObserverGallery owner Jon Lambert claims protesters “trying to get attention”
“The only reason I took it off sale yesterday was to satisfy these crazes,” he said, adding that he wasn’t even sure the skull was real.
Cavalier-Keck Said she only learned of the auction because Danny Gregory, an archaeologist friend in Mebane, alerted her to it.
She compares people who buy human bones to people who want to be like Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider.
“People want to grab a piece of the past. You see people picking up, for example, Egyptian relics or African relics. I guess they want to grab Native American artifacts,” she said. “I don’t know, but I think it’s pretty scary.”