BERKELEY, Calif – Halloween is just around the corner and the Hearst Museum of Anthropology isn’t one to miss out on all the spooky fun! Rumors abound that the museum is stockpiling thousands of bones from real, once-living human beings in preparation for the most ghoulish holiday of the season.
“Um… those aren’t rumors,” clarified indigenous rights activist and grad student Samantha Vasquez. “The university actually has a long and well-documented history of abducting indigenous remains and hoarding them against the express wishes of indigenous communities. They’ve literally been cited by the State of California for violating the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Tribes have been protesting this shit for decades now. I have no idea why this is still news to some people.”
The bones, which are currently buried en masse under the Hearst Memorial Gymnasium Swimming Pool (because where else would you put human remains, you fucking dipshit), are mostly unidentified.
“When we first found them, we actually thought they were just funny human-shaped rocks, so we didn’t bother asking who they belonged to,” explained cultural anthropologist and ghost Alfred Louis Kroeber, who now goes by the less controversial name Anthropology and Art Practice. “Of course, once we realized they belonged to Native Americans, it’s not like we gave a fuck! It’s kind of like that time I kidnapped that random Yahi dude and turned him into a zoo exhibit. If they ain’t white, who cares, right?”
Some people (who apparently do care) have suggested that UC Berkeley should speedily identify and return the expropriated bodies in accordance with federal law and basic human decency. Campus officials, however, believe that such an effective and sensible gesture would stray from the university’s longstanding tradition of performative gaslighting.
“For over a hundred years, the University of California, Berkeley has instigated social progress by standing directly in the way of it,” declared Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher in a mass email last Wednesday. “In 1964, our draconian prohibitions against political expression directly motivated The Free Speech Movement. In 1997 and 2013, we were successfully sued into accommodating disabled students. Most recently, our decision to build over People’s Park inspired the #SavePeoplesPark slogan that has spread like wildfire all over Twitter! If we were to return indigenous bodies to their communities simply because they asked us, what would that say about our legacy?”
In a more blunt message, Chancellor Carol Christ told critics: “Get some Halloween spirit, you fucking buzz-kills.”
At press time, a barrage of legal threats have forced university administrators to announce that they will be ramping up their repatriation schedule. Campus officials urge law enforcement not to worry; they now have not one, but two unpaid undergrads working hard to catalogue the corpses.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Ramirez for the Daily Californian