Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rodney Kelly is campaigning for the British Museum to repatriate the Gweagal shield, which belonged to his great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. Captain James Cook's very first contact with Indigenous Australians in 1770 resulted in gunshots, the throwing of spears and the theft of one Aboriginal warrior's shield carved from bark, which eventually ended up in the collection of the British Museum. A gift from either Cook or Joseph Banks (a botanist on that voyage of the HMS Endeavor), the so-called Gweagal shield is usually on view in the permanent collection galleries at the museum, which owns the largest public collection of Aboriginal objects outside of Australia. At its center is a small, pierced hole -- what some Indigenous Australians claim is a foreboding mark of imperial aggression, left by a bullet Cook fired that struck the leg of the shield-bearer, a warrior named Cooman.

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Nearly 250 years later, the sixth-generation descendent of the shield's original owner is calling for its return home, on behalf of the people of his Gweagal clan and their ancestors who fought Cook's crew on that historic day.

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There's a growing movement associated with the repatriation of tribal objects, and not just in Australia. Consider, for example, the impact of NAGPRA in the US.

#1 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-06-20 12:37 PM | Reply

If I'm not mistaken they still have the Rosetta Stone too.

#2 | Posted by lfthndthrds at 2017-06-20 12:54 PM | Reply

And the Elgin Marbles, etc,

#3 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-06-20 02:05 PM | Reply

So is Mexico going to demand the return of all the gold span took from it?

#4 | Posted by tmaster at 2017-06-20 02:23 PM | Reply

The shield looks like something TMaster dropped in the pool this morning.

#5 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2017-06-20 03:44 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

The US government recently "repatriated" the 9,000+ year-old bones of a man to tribes in the Pacific Northwest. It's a very thorny subject, in part a byproduct of feelings rubbed raw as a result of colonialism and conquest.

#6 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-06-20 03:49 PM | Reply

It is a simple question of whether you are okay with your government being in possession of stolen property when it could return it to an heir of the original owner.
Germany has been returning stolen property to rightful owners post WWII, even if in private hands.

If you believe in property rights this seems like a no brainer. If you believe in the spoils of conquest, you might be a Nazi.

#7 | Posted by bored at 2017-06-20 04:37 PM | Reply

#4 | Posted by tmaster

Gold artifacts once melted down is just gold. How do they prove that the gold belonged to their ancestors? If you were a bona fide descendant of Montezuma or somehow related and could could show that your ancestors family's treasures were looted perhaps you could build a case...but good luck with that. Both of the empires involved do not exist.

Dealing with ancient relics are a bit different (and a thorny subject as Doc suggests). If artifacts are dug up from a grave site that can be proved to belong to someones ancestor it seems pretty clear this akin to grave robbing.

So you unless you don't mind whether I dug up your ancestors from their graves and stole all their jewelry and gold fillings (or anything of value that I could find among the bones) then I would expect you can see the difference.

#8 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-06-20 04:38 PM | Reply

"Take and ye shall receive" is the British way.

#9 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-06-20 05:47 PM | Reply

I believe in the spoils of conquest for something dating back that long ago.
For all you know Cooman could have thrown his spear first so a dude shot him, Cooman and his punk friends split the scene, and left behind the shield. Fair game.

Really though, it was a shield lost in battle. Any piece of equipment lost in battle is no longer yours. It's somebody's souvenir.

#10 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-20 06:06 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

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Really though, it was a shield lost in battle. Any piece of equipment lost in battle is no longer yours. It's somebody's souvenir.
#10 | POSTED BY 101CHAIRBORNE AT 2017-06-20 06:06 PM | FLAG:

Some ethics: "take whatever you can hold onto." You'd be singing a different tune if someone practiced it on you.

#11 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-20 08:20 PM | Reply

You never seem to comprehend the written word.
Maybe somebody could contact Boyd's wife, and have her explain people's posts to him?

#12 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-20 10:13 PM | Reply

"Really though, it was a shield lost in battle. Any piece of equipment lost in battle is no longer yours. It's somebody's souvenir."

Do your human skin lampshades still have the comforting warm glow after you switched from incandescent to LED?

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-06-20 10:20 PM | Reply

Yeah you conquered the whole ------- continent and you can't give up a sheild.

Oklahoma, dragged folks from east and west to misery. And the Sooners left early to steal it.

#14 | Posted by bruceaz at 2017-06-20 10:29 PM | Reply

"You never seem to comprehend the written word."

Your words are pretty incomprehensible. As are your positions.

#15 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-20 11:14 PM | Reply

I would say if the museums have an item it should stay there so we don't lose important artifacts that tell the human story but as far as private collections that would be fare game for the descendants to pursue. I know that would be complicated so I really don't have a better answer.

#16 | Posted by WTFIGO at 2017-06-21 02:34 PM | Reply

"You're admitting to being so dumb as to not comprehend that a shield is a piece of battle equipment? Too dumb to comprehend it was lost on the battlefield? Too dumb to comprehend that kit left on a battlefield will be picked up and kept by the opponent."

I understand all of those things. It is your supposition that these facts somehow combine to provide an ethical justification for the theft of the shield that is a bit mystifying.

But then, you have never exactly been a luminary on the subject of ethics, now have you? Or, again, on the subject of my identity...

#18 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 03:17 PM | Reply

Theft...of an enemy shield dropped in a battle.
My god you are thick.

How many times a week does somebody take your lunch money, sally?

#19 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-21 04:02 PM | Reply

"Theft...of an enemy shield dropped in a battle.
My god you are thick."

Like I thought: no explanation, no defense.

"How many times a week does somebody take your lunch money, sally?"

By your logic, anything they took wouldn't be theft, since they would have won it by force. I wonder how you'd like that reasoning if someone stole from you?

#20 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 04:07 PM | Reply

Statute of limitations - or is the thread about the debt on the car.

#21 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-06-21 04:32 PM | Reply

How do we know that the father owned it before Cook got it? Does he have a receipt?

If the shield was sold, does the buyer pursue the seller for selling stolen goods?

Was the shield thrown at Cook or dropped? I mean, if they threw spears, do they want them back?
The shield can be used a weapon. How do we know the shield wasn't used as one.?

#22 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-06-21 04:39 PM | Reply

"If the shield was sold, does the buyer pursue the seller for selling stolen goods?"

That's what the police are supposed to do.

#23 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-06-21 04:43 PM | Reply

"How do we know that the father owned it before Cook got it? Does he have a receipt?"

Imperialist theft never changes. The natives of north america didn't have deeds to their land, so anything goes, right?

#24 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 04:44 PM | Reply

What's the difference between archaeology and grave robbing?

Sorry, somewhat related. I've read the in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the chatter about Dr. Jones being an archaeologist while Rene was just a grave robber. Indiana did it for the history and preservation.

I had to laugh as in the movie, Jones is telling his boss that he knows where something is. As he's doing this, he shows some things he found and his boss says the museum will pay him for them, they are nice...

Was he being paid as a worker, or paid for the things he found - placing a price on his grave robbing?

#25 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-06-21 04:45 PM | Reply

Do you support the Confiscation Acts during the Civil War or should the property taken by force of law be returned?

#26 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-06-21 04:51 PM | Reply

You don't want an explanation. You want attention, so you play stupid and jump to ridiculous conclusions to keep getting attention.
You're basically snoofy, except you're actually Boyd.

#27 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-21 04:54 PM | Reply

"The natives of north america didn't have deeds to their land, so anything goes, right?"

yeah.

#28 | Posted by eberly at 2017-06-21 04:59 PM | Reply

Do you support the Confiscation Acts during the Civil War or should the property taken by force of law be returned?

#26 | POSTED BY PETROUS AT 2017-06-21 04:51 PM | FLAG:

Are you comparing the north freeing slaves to some colonialist stealing a shield?

#29 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 05:33 PM | Reply

"By your logic, anything they took wouldn't be theft, since they would have won it by force. I wonder how you'd like that reasoning if someone stole from you?
#20 | POSTED BY DIRKSTRUAN"

Huh? How does that follow? I saw nothing in what Chairborne said that would justify, for instance, breaking into the nearby homes of townsfolk and stealing art off their wall. Wtf, over?

#30 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2017-06-21 05:34 PM | Reply

"You don't want an explanation."

Sure I do. Shame you don't have one to give for your perverse, might makes right ethics.

#31 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 05:35 PM | Reply

Huh? How does that follow? I saw nothing in what Chairborne said that would justify, for instance, breaking into the nearby homes of townsfolk and stealing art off their wall. Wtf, over?
#30 | POSTED BY MONTECORE AT 2017-06-21 05:34 PM | FLAG:

Spoils of battle. So long as they picked a fight first, it is all fair game to that frothing barbarian.

#32 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 05:41 PM | Reply

You're basically snoofy, except you're actually Boyd.

#27 | POSTED BY 101CHAIRBORNE AT 2017-06-21 04:54 PM

Wait, Dirk is Boyd? As in Badweek Boyd?

#33 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2017-06-21 05:43 PM | Reply

Wait, Dirk is Boyd? As in Badweek Boyd?

#33 | POSTED BY LEFTCOASTLAWYER AT 2017-06-21 05:43 PM | FLAG:

That would be a no. Care to try for double jeopardy where the scores can really change?

#34 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-21 06:15 PM | Reply

That's exactly what Boyd would have said, and has on many occasions
FACT!

#35 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-21 07:14 PM | Reply

"So long as they picked a fight first, it is all fair game to that frothing barbarian.
#32 | POSTED BY DIRKSTRUAN"

You might say that. 101 didn't.

That's called putting words in someone else's mouth. It's a bad trait.

#36 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2017-06-22 12:37 PM | Reply

#36

He literally said "I believe in the spoils of conquest." So no, I am not putting words in his mouth.

#37 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-22 12:52 PM | Reply

Dummy...the full quote and context is there for all to see.

Quit being a wrist flailing tool and jumping to the worst possible illogical conclusions. It's an obviously stupid tact and it simply makes you look like somebody begging for attention. It fools nobody.

#38 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-22 12:59 PM | Reply

Your comprehension sucks, on purpose.
Go get a dog you lonely fool. Or maybe talk to your wife...

#39 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-22 01:00 PM | Reply

Context like this, you mean?

"Really though, it was a shield lost in battle. Any piece of equipment lost in battle is no longer yours."

So, if someone carjacked you and there is a struggle and you come out worse, that car? No longer yours. Spoils of battle.

If I have at all misunderstood you, you've had every opportunity to clarify your position and, quelle surprise, you haven't. So, I am less likely to conclude that I have misunderstood you and more likely to conclude that, per usual, I have caught you advocating something awful (the implications of which you haven't bothered to push through that display of atavism between your ears).

So, here's chance number, what? 5? 6? for you to explain your position or own up to your awfulness. Unless you predictably go with option three: more pitiful whining about how unfair I am being to you.

#40 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-06-22 01:40 PM | Reply

Quit begging for attention and start reading and comprehending.

As I've already told you, you don't want an explanation, you want to drag people into conversing with you. It's your thing. Just like snoofy. Just like speaksoftly. You'll take the most ridiculous interpretation of what somebody has written and try to turn it into attention for you.

It won't work on me, because like those other two puds I've mentioned, you're plonked now too.

#41 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2017-06-22 01:56 PM | Reply

"Really though, it was a shield lost in battle. Any piece of equipment lost in battle is no longer yours."

Exactly. And you stretched that to include art stolen from the wall in the home of a person in town. Guess what, "art on a wall" is not "a piece of equipment" and it is not "lost in battle." Just give it up, dude.

#42 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2017-06-22 05:49 PM | Reply

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