Morley Swingle to Present Beckwith Lecture


Researching Bootheel Man: Federal Law, Indians and Archaeologists

Photo of Morley Swingle.

Local author and Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle will give the annual Beckwith Lecture.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 12, 2008 — Local author and Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle will give the annual Beckwith Lecture March 18 at Southeast Missouri State University. 

The lecture is scheduled for 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center at Southeast’s  River Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, “Researching Bootheel Man,” Swingle will talk about the continuing legal conflict between American Indians and archaeologists over excavating prehistoric burial sites in light of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Swingle is the author of the book, Bootheel Man, published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press last fall. Swingle’s Beckwith Lecture will consider the controversy over “Kennewick Man,” a 9,000-year-old skeleton whose disinterment resulted in a lawsuit that made its way up to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2004. He also will describe how his own feelings about the issues changed as a result of his extensive research.

Devon Mihesuah (Cora Lee Beers Price Professor, University of Kansas), David Hurst Thomas (curator of anthropology at The American Museum of Natural History in New York), and other prominent scholars on both sides of the repatriation issue have praised Bootheel Man for its nuanced understanding of contemporary reburial and repatriation issues.

The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Southeast Missouri Regional Museum and the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology sponsor the annual Beckwith Lecture, which honors Thomas Beckwith who donated his sizable collection of Mississippian artifacts to the University in 1913. Dr. Carol Morrow, professor of anthropology at Southeast Missouri State University, invited Swingle to be this year’s Beckwith speaker. Morrow says she was particularly impressed that Swingle had traveled to Oklahoma to talk with Osage Indians and learn their perspective firsthand.

Select pieces from the Beckwith Collection are on permanent display in the Crisp Museum at the River Campus.

For more information on this event, please contact Ellen Hahs at (573) 651-2301.