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for people who care about the West

Art with a conscience

  I was shocked and saddened to read Childs' grim report (HCN, 4/28/08). I looked on eBay under "Anasazi" - sure enough, there was all kinds of stuff for sale. Shocking. There's a way to enjoy this art without robbing graves. I bought a pot at the Acoma Pueblo. It sits in my living room. The man who made it earned money for that. He's happy, and so am I. Nothing destroyed. I have bought jewelry from Zunis and Navajos as well. They make a good living, and I get to wear a beautiful design. No grave robbing.

There is a gallery in Southern California that sells pre-Columbian artifacts, including an enormous amount of gold figures that were fashioned into amulets and jewelry, buried with the dead 500-1,500 years ago in Central America, and dug up by grave robbers. I brought a photo of one of the amulets to a jeweler who actually worked with the Getty Museum, researching how pre-Columbian Indians made their gold pieces. He re-created one for me from the photo. It looks identical to an ancient one, but again, no bad karma, no grave robbing. OK, so it's not "ancient." But at least I can live with myself.

Crista Worthy
Los Angeles, California