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Research & Thoughts

Home for the CAMD is Being Sought

I am asking around for an Amerind organization to take a donation of the entire CAMD. Why would I do that? Because of the negativity I keep hitting against me and this work in the archeaology field.  I've been a member now of the WAS for years and they've never once asked me to present my work. I've offered articles but they've always completely changed the article from what I've offered. Because of people like ***, once on my free newsletter subscription list, now won't tell me why he doesn't want me emailing him. I asked a simple request for a reference, and all he needed to say was no. Not one person I asked for a reference for the Michigan resource manual said yes. Okay, who's badmouthing me? Is it you, ***? Because of Archaeo Press, who thinks they can take an archaeologist's hard work and not pay them anything. Because of a Facebook copper page, where *** kicked me off because I wasn't making photos from museums free for everyone. She intimated that I should just make my entire work free, so now I hope I've found a way to do that.


And then there's ***, who is the wrong person to run the Oconto Copper Burial Museum. But I get it -- they can't find anyone else. I curated there for three years, and the only pay I got, for all that I did, was when I gave tours. And I had a tour guide who wanted most of those hours, until Oconto County Historical Society stopped paying even for tours. Then I was alone and there was no pay. In those three years, I opened up the museum with new paint, new shelves, new displays, lots of research, found lost copper hidden away, ripped out old plants and planted new flowers, ran our board meetings, developed a membership and newsletter, hosted open houses, gave presentations -- I lived for that place for two of those three years. In the third year, as an OCHS thanks, they pulled all funding, so I said I was done the end of that season.


But ***? Yes, a lifelong resident, former city council member, former business owner, he was on the board. He was supposed to help with the displays because that's the kind of thing he did in his business. But we could never agree on how much he should be paid. Yes, paid. He wanted money from the meager budget I got on the museum. I felt that he should be offering his services, and just get paid for supplies. That was the beginning of the end of that friendship. After that, he stood in my way wherever he could, belittled me and made for a very uncomfortable workplace, which didn't pay a cent as it was.


And now he's running the museum? When I gave tours, I was often asked what credentials I had. I would tell them about my master's in history and about the focus I developed in my undergraduate work on following an ancient trade network. That seemed to satisfy people. What does *** have to offer? Well, since he was voted off the city council and closed up his framing business, I suppose it was a matter of there's no one else and he needed something to do.


I left after three years because I needed a paying job and a little dignity back in my life. That was at the end of 2010 and it took until 2015 before I got one full time that offered the health insurance I needed. But I kept my interest in copper, spent a lot of time and money developing the CAMD, and now people want me to just give it to them - for free? So I decided, if I have to give all this work away, it'll go to the people whose ancestors created those copper artifacts. No one else.


I knew when I started doing this that I was in over my head. I didn't have any real archaeology in my background. Oh, I took a class from ***, but then I lost her support, too. Somehow. I developed an archaeology fiction novel that I wanted her to beta read for me, but she's since disappeared. But the more I collected the data, the more a trade network began to appear. It all felt so fascinating to me. But what was I going to do with it? Well, ultimately, publish the data, of course. But how?


Yes, what I was hoping to find all along was some support, some help, maybe a partner or two, an archaeologist or student of such who wanted to make the project was progressing properly. To that end, I put out a monthly newsletter, and received comments that way, which were helpful. But no one to say, hey, let me see what you have so far. I suppose that's understandable. Museums felt this was a good project, except for those who wanted nothing to do with it (only a handful, thankfully). One archaeologist in a public forum was asked if it was a good idea, and he said sure, if the right person was doing it. I was right there in the room. Of course, I made him an enemy of my work while I was still curating at Oconto. And for now good reason, I bore the brunt of his anger, though it was the town's decision to ignore his advice. And then he told the state archaeologist, who got down on me, but there was nothing I could do. The state doesn't support the museum, after all, and has no say.


And then there's the fellow I had to kick off my newsletter subscription because he professed he just wanted to "steal" photos for his work. Well, I say right in my newsletter that none of these photos are available for use. I didn't have permission for anything but this free newsletter. And yet he has published a huge color book of artifacts. Did he get permission for all of those? I hope so. For his sake. He's being touted now as the copper expert, while my data gets ignored. I should get a copy, but it's pricey (mine won't be) and I can't get over all the ugly comments he's made about me.


Self-publishing is always an option but I don't like to because there's no validity. Still, as things have progressed with my newsletter, I lost validity anyway because of my "guesses" in my newsletters -- hey, everyone guesses about the ancient past! I did have archaeologists as subscribers and I always published their responses to my material. There was never any serious challenge to what I wrote, which was basically all about what I was finding, and where. I put out 88 copper newsletters, and I think they were a lot of fun.


I waited a few weeks for some responses to some further queries of publisher, and now I'm querying national tribal organizations. I'll still publish the first manual, which is almost done. But I would prefer this research would go to somewhere that can treat it with the respect IT deserves (not me, but I'm used to not being treated with respect anyway).


Why would they want this? Here's a list of reasons I think might help them decide:


1. CAMD demonstrates a wide-ranging trade network.

2. Dispels misinformation about the ancient past.

3. Gives an accurate record of where artifacts are being kept, so that we can see what was actually found in any one location.

a) Caveat: they will need to sign an affidavit saying they will not go after anyone's collection, not any museum or any collector, and then I will give them the confidential data.

b) I will remain attached to the material so they can get my assistance with interpreting the materials, and correcting any errors, for as long as they need.

4. I will give them my credentials for creating this database.

5. I can continue to develop the books and give them 50/50 proceeds. (Splitting it insures that I have the incentive to continue developing the manuals as long as I'm able.)

6. Lack of a good Amerind home means it will end up at WHS for their online archives. But I'd rather it go to the descendents of the materials' creators.

7. I will give you one complete state's data in advance so you can see what it looks like.

8. It includes 68 folders of copper data, including spreadsheets, photos and resources (Photos are not free use; you'd have to contact the owners to publish.) The folder called "Resource Manuals," which has 23 folders of the various manuals I've planned to produce. The Sources Used folder contains  resources used. Data totals over 84,000 pieces. I have a lot of paper materials that I can ship, too, for a mailing fee.

9. I will retain, if agreed, two things: the ability to produce several resource manuals (not all; I'll never be able to finish) per #5 above; and the right to publish a book about my experiences as an outside in the archaeology world, which will include theories about these ancient peoples as compared to those today who think they know them. This last can be beta-read by someone in your organization for approval before publication.


Yes, the CAMD needs a proper home. It's outgrown the home I tried to give it, and if I had been able, I would have known long before that this time would come.

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