The federal government has ruled that the remains of 180 Native Americans dug up in the Southern Tier during the construction of Route 17 should be returned to the custody of the Onondaga Nation by the New York State Museum. Naturally, New York is protesting, along the lines that nobody can agree when the Onondagas arrived in the area.
But what, exactly, does New York State need with 180 dead bodies in a cupboard? I mean, the Onondagas have their reasons, but I’d love to know what New York’s is. 180 skeletons? Really? How does this make the citizens of New York richer? How much, in these tough economic times, are we allocating in the state budget to help keep these skeletons out of the earth? I’m dying to know. Perhaps Gov. Paterson, who fought so passionately to preserve the African Burial Ground in Manhattan years ago, can tell us the dollar amount.