University of California, Berkeley
The Hearst Gymnasium in 1927.

Are Ancestors Haunting Hearst Gymnasium at UC Berkeley?

ICTMN Staff
10/31/13

The Daily Clog calls it the “Haunted House of Hearst,” Native American tribes know it isn’t the proper place for their ancestors, but some 10,000 sets of human remains are housed under the Hearst Gymnasium swimming pool at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We don’t appreciate them keeping our ancestors locked up in a drawer,” Ted Howard, cultural resources director of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “This is a human rights issue to the tribes. All we’re asking for is to be treated fairly.”

The Native remains have been stored under the pool since the 1960s after being dug up by university archaeologists.

A women’s swimming class at the Hearst North Pool in the 1950s. (University of California, Berkeley)

The tribes may not be the only ones upset by the way the remains are being treated—being stores in boxes instead of having proper reburials. Workers at Hearst have reported strange experiences.

Former employee Brian Mogollon told The Daily Clog, a blog by The Daily Californian, that he would hear late-night noises.

“(Work) Hearst alone—and I mean alone,” David Dakwa, another former Cal Recreational Sports employee says, “and walk through with minimal lights and see how you feel.”

According to Tony Platt, a visiting professor of justice studies at San Jose State University, Berkeley has only repatriated 315 sets of remains as of June 2013 and they should get that process moving to repair relationships with the Native American tribes.

The university should take responsibility for, in Heizer’s [Robert Heizer, distinguished anthropologist at Berkeley in 1974] words, ‘a human ethical’ issue, namely, how so many well-educated, well-meaning professors and administrators eagerly violated the rights of the dead and tormented the living,” Platt says in an opinion piece published by the Los Angeles Times.

Heizer apologized in 1974 for the “continued digging up of the graves of their [Natives] ancestors.”

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irishskipper's picture
irishskipper
Submitted by irishskipper on
dont they have a na grave protection tha tthey hav eto be return to the nation

Colleen Brown's picture
Colleen Brown
Submitted by Colleen Brown on
They aren't the only tribe that has been mistreated by Hearst. The Salinan tribe has many burial artifacts in the Phoebe Hearst museum.

Jack Monasmith's picture
Jack Monasmith
Submitted by Jack Monasmith on
The remains SHOULD be returned for proper burial.

doug c.'s picture
doug c.
Submitted by doug c. on
I have worked at the gym late nights all alone for a couple years now, after having worked there more than fifteen years during the daytime hours. I have seen nothing that is extraordinary or unexplained. Noises emanating from equipment and systems that keep the pool running or heat for the building are normal. I guess some people that are unfamiliar with the sounds of equipment in the building could construe that the building is 'haunted', but those that are in the know will tell you otherwise. Listening to late night occupants that are unfamiliar with building operations is not very 'scientific', and at UC, one would expect a discussion to take a higher track than this.

Sharon Johnson's picture
Sharon Johnson
Submitted by Sharon Johnson on
Europeans have doing things to the Native Americans, for centuries, they act as though we are animals or something strange. So in their mind, its ok I need to study their bones,lifestyle what have you. We are a nonentity, so lets go dig up some more bones . The ancestors will have their say.

Sharon Johnson's picture
Sharon Johnson
Submitted by Sharon Johnson on
Europeans have doing things to the Native Americans, for centuries, they act as though we are animals or something strange. So in their mind, its ok I need to study their bones,lifestyle what have you. We are a nonentity, so lets go dig up some more bones . The ancestors will have their say.
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