Monday, September 28, 2015
John Ragsdale (UMKC) has posted Sacred in the City: The Huron Indian Cemetery and the Preservation Laws on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
The Huron Indian Cemetery sits on a hill above the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. It is several acres of predominant green, with grass, mature trees, and modest, weathered grave stones, surrounded by the sterile concrete of a struggling Midwestern city. Desultory businesses, colorless governmental offices, a casino, and strong evidence of poverty and vandalism lap at the shores of the small sanctuary. Yet despite the drab and essential joylessness of the encircling faded modernity, the cemetery holds a surprising sense of peace and even timelessness. The serenity may seem incongruous, not only because of the tawdry surroundings, but also because of the cemetery’s chaotic history as a center of numerous legal and economic conflicts. This article will focus on the story of endurance and on the reciprocating feelings inspired by and invested in this unique burial place. It will deal with the general, perhaps inevitable, tension between the sacred and the profane – the clash between the emotion, solemnity, and repose of a spiritual site, the transformative calculations of economic and political expediency and the law that may bridge that gap.