Museums

Desecrated in macabre ways, the ancestral remains of Catalina's Native Americans finally come home

Desecrated in macabre ways, the ancestral remains of Catalina's Native Americans finally come home

Nearly a century ago, an amateur archaeologist and showman named Ralph Glidden dug up Native American burial sites on Catalina and other Channel Islands off Southern California’s coast.

To him, the human remains and relics were treasures to be displayed in the so-called Indian Museum he opened as a tourist attraction overlooking Avalon Harbor. It was a macabre place — and to Native Americans, highly offensive — with windows edged with toe, ankle, wrist and finger bones, shelves lined with skulls held up by leg and arm bones, and ceilings decorated with vertebrae and rosettes of shoulder blades. What Glidden didn’t use in the museum he sold.

The museum closed in 1950, and...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
59°