At Quaker library, a grim find: Native American remains in display case

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tags: Native Americans, Quakers



Louellyn White came to Pennsylvania to search for graves of native children who died after their Carlisle Indian School masters sent them out to work as maids and farmhands.

But as she hunted for burial records in the dusky, seldom-used library of the Byberry Quaker Meeting in Philadelphia, she made a horrifying discovery: a yellowed skull, labeled as Native American, set in a display case among a collection of rocks and fossils.

A note taped to the cabinet said the skull was dug out of a canal near Lambertville, N.J., part of a skeleton that in one hand held a pipe and hatchet.

“It’s just wrong,” said White, of Mohawk descent, who teaches First Peoples Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. “This is really an ancestor here, who’s been stuck on this shelf next to animal skulls.”

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