Missing Bones Found At Belmont
Cardinal Mahoney denies involvement in Native American mystery
Beto Angel Fosa
In another blow to the troubled Belmont Learning Center, officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District announced today that construction crews had apparently uncovered a Native American burial site containing bones believed to be at least 10,000 years old.
Published on LatinoLA: December 9, 2002
This new discovery complicates completion of the ill-fated project which has suffered a series of set-backs, including toxic soil contamination from old oil wells, methane seepage, earthquake faults, dioxin contamination, DDT contamination, radon gas, nuclear waste, unexploded ordinance from the Mexican-American war, anthrax contamination, five endangered species, and some really really bad feng shui.
LAUSD school board president Genethia Hayes issued a statement through her press office stating that ?obviously, this spells the end of Belmont, since we are bound by the terms of the Native American Burial Sites Protection Act to return the site to its natural condition.? Furthermore, Hayes stressed that she would not want to expose potential Belmont students to the dangers of some ghostly curse from disturbed graves. Other critics, however, question Ms. Hayes logic and noted that buried skeletons on school property or in school closets are not at all unusual in Los Angeles.
Native American leaders, however, questioned the find and noted that it seemed to be part of a downtown developer?s plot to defeat the Belmont Learning Center and convert the site to upper income condominiums. ?This site, according to our ancient traditions, has always been a tribal learning center,? stated Carla Yanira, of the Tongva Alliance for Education, a community group supporting Belmont. She also pointed out that members of the community doubted the so-called archaeological find.
Professional archaeologists echoed the doubt, indicating that the remains were found in a box labeled ?UPS? and appeared to be a later intrusion into an earlier cultural level. ?It?s just like someone dug a hole and planted it here,? said Jake Harlow, of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, a noted local archaeologist. He noted that the remains bear a striking resemblance to the remains found at the site of the now completed Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles.
An ancient burial at the Cathedral site threatened to delay construction until the bones mysteriously disappeared. Further compounding the mystery, the Belmont site's bones appear to have been recovered on a parcel formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. A spokesman for Cardinal Mahoney, Fr. Gregory Coitus, denied any church involvement in either the disappearance of the original bones, or the latest discovery.
?Imagine a priest or some church official digging a hole and burying bones,? scoffed Coitus, ?For that we have a grave-diggers union.?
LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer affirmed his commitment to Belmont and suggested adding a Native American memorial to the site, in addition to the already planned HAZMAT complex, decontamination lab, fallout shelter, and earthquake information center currently under construction.
Romer re-assured the public that ?there are no more skeletons in the closet...at least none that I know of.?
Beto Angel Fosa:
Beto Angel Fosa is a queer satirist residing in Highland Park with his cat, chickens, turkeys, and several homeless Latino hustlers. An avid organic gardener, he also practices law and brujeria.