Ancient Native American Mound To Be Destroyed To Build Sam’s Club

Native American
Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a tough year for ancient monuments, what with subway workers in China accidentally demolishing 3000-year-old tombs, a limestone quarry destroying part of the Nazca Lines, and pyramids in Peru and Belize being bulldozed by “developers.”

Now Alabama is getting in on the game. The city of Oxford, Alabama, has approved the destruction of a mound of stones and the hill on which it stands in order to use the dirt as fill for a Sam’s Club site. City mayor Leon Smith says it’s a natural formation and was only used to send smoke signals, but the State Historical Commission disagrees and says it’s about 1,500 years old and eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Artificial earthen and stone mounds were common features of prehistoric Native American civilizations and are found in many parts of North America. Some were used for burials while others appear to have been ritual sites. There have already been protests against the destruction.

For more on this issue, check out this article by The Institute for Southern Studies, which includes many links to local newspaper articles and official reports.

Part Of Wounded Knee Massacre Site To Be Sold

Wounded Knee
Part of the Wounded Knee massacre site, the scene of one of the worst attacks on Native Americans in U.S. history, may soon be sold to private interests, the BBC reports.

In 1890 in South Dakota, there were widespread fears among the white population that the Sioux were going to stage an uprising. A drought and insufficient government rations had led many Native Americans to the brink of starvation, and some had turned to the Ghost Dance religion, a revivalist faith that many whites interpreted as warlike.

The U.S. military tried to relocate the local Sioux to the Pine Ridge Reservation but one band refused to go and fled in the middle of the night. They were eventually tracked down to Wounded Knee Creek. On December 29, the soldiers tried to disarm them. One Sioux refused to give up his gun. A soldier tried to grab it and it went off. The nervous whites then fired into the crowd.

In the ensuing battle 25 U.S. soldiers were killed, but the death toll among the Sioux was far higher. It’s unclear exactly how many were killed but estimates vary from 250 to 300, with at least half of them being women and children who hadn’t resisted. One mass grave, shown here, was used to bury 146 bodies.

Ever since that bloody day, the massacre site has been of deep significance to the Sioux and the Native American community in general. Little has been built there, however, and now a 40-acre plot that’s owned by someone outside the tribe is up for sale.

Some Sioux are calling on President Obama to make the land, already a National Historic Landmark, a National Monument, a status that would give it more federal funding and protection.

The landowner says that he has tried to sell the land to the tribe but was rebuffed. He’s giving the tribe until May 1 to come up with the $3.9 million price tag before he puts it on the open market. Sioux leaders say the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the poorest regions in the country, has little money to spare and that the asking price is far above market price.

[Photo courtesy Library of Congress]

Indian YouTube star Wilbur Sargunaraj makes a “first-class” Canada video


Wilbur Sargunaraj first became a viral hit with the YouTube video Love Marriage and has been called “India‘s first YouTube star,” making songs and videos combining the “funny foreigner” schtick of Borat with a Bollywood beat. Sargunaraj’s further projects have served to increase our “CQ” (cultural quotient) with “first class” videos like the informative how-to on using an Indian toilet.

For this new “Canada cool” video, Sargunaraj went up north to Ottawa, where it’s -40 degrees (fun fact taught to me by a Canadian: -40 is where celsius and fahrenheit meet!). He does a lot of Canada fun activities, like ice skating at the Rideau Canal and eating BeaverTails on Ottowa Street. Check out the video and leave us your comments: internet phenom or flash in the pan?

Thanks to Legal Nomads‘ Jodi Ettenberg for the video.

Avoid eating cold dishes (especially in developing nations) – Dining out tip

Having visited India several times in my life, I can confidently say that eating a cold dish is a one-way trip to the hospital. It’s because food handling standards in some countries are not quite the same as in developed nations.

Foods to avoid include chilled sauces and desserts. It’s actually a pretty easy tip to follow because most food is made hot and fresh. However, chilled foods are a problem because bacteria is permitted to develop and the food may be several days old.

Mumbai’s Party Scene Takes a Hit

Mumbai’s rave scene has grown exponentially over the past few years. The influx of new money and the city’s urban flare make it a ripe place for a party. But don’t be confused, it ain’t Goa. The plentiful drugs and thumping bass of the former Portuguese colony and hippy hangout will never be duplicated in India’s largest city. That is, as long as the authorities have something to say about it.

Police in Mumbai raided a party in a restaurant outside the city called Bombay 72 Degree East. Not only was everyone in possession of narcotics arrested, but everyone was tested for drugs. Over 100 people, almost half the attendees, tested positive. Among the arrests: the son of Bollywood star Shakti Kapoor. Ecstasy and amphetamines were among the narcotics seized.

The punishment for getting high? Those whose tests came back positive can volunteer to undergo some sort of rehab program or face up to one year in jail. Would-be Mumbai partiers, consider yourselves warned. There is a chance (probably a very small chance) your night of dancing and drugging in Mumbai could end up like this: you peeing in a cup and wondering if your friends can find an ATM and withdrawal enough for bail.

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