Anthropology and the Public Interest: Fieldwork and Theory by Peggy Reeves Sanday

By Peggy Reeves Sanday

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Despite this public declaration of policy, however, the strong professional and public apathy toward implementation caused both laws to be largely ineffective with respect to archeological resources. They served as the legal foundation for official policy and occasional platitudinous statements as to what that policy was, but there was almost no attempt to carry out that policy once it was declared. Persons have been taken to court for destruction of archeological or historical resources on federal property under the criminal statutes of the 1906 Act, but this has been extremely rare, and most of these have been within the past few years.

Stewardship of Tikopia's food resources is a traditional duty and prerogative of the chiefs, a INTERCULTURAL EXPERTISE AND PUBLIC POLICY 21 stewardship they are expected to exercise in the interest of the survival of their society. When Firth arrived, he found the chiefs taking inventory of the island's resources in order to determine how many people could be sustained over the time it would take for the affected gardens and fruit trees to become productive again. The low ranking families were in dread of what the chiefs would then decide, for it was their traditional authority, having determined how many people could be sustained, to order all the remainder into permanent exile at sea, beginning with the lowest ranking families.

They began to master, dominate, restrain, count, and generally control themselves, their expanding environments, and other peoples. It is scarcely any wonder that they began to look at fundamental human matters in fundamentally different ways than they had before. In order to make clear the relationship between this cultural revolution of the sixteenth century and our current perceptions, it perhaps is necessary to indicate more specifically what kind of social adjustments were then taking place among the people who began most successfully to conquer the entire globe with their novel mood of mastery and their growing technological grip upon their expanding environment.

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