Cowboys & Indians


thinking at the time, but he doesn’t seem to have had any qualms about disturbing the dead. Jacobsen was a Norwegian adventurer enlisted by a German museum in the early 1880s to explore Alaska. His task was to find — and take — as many authentic Native cultural items as he could lay his hands on. In one incident, he opened a grave and discovered the remains of a mother and child. Though their bodies were so fragile they disintegrated the moment he touched them, he was able to retrieve the mother’s skull. After that, he upturned the nearby cradleboard, jostled free the remnants of the baby’s body, and took the cradle, too. Through purchasing, trading, and unabashed grave robbery, Jacobsen came, he discusses the subject of desecration with casual indifference.

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