Collector Side’s Propaganda Experiences

Propaganda is often a significant factor in all major public disagreements. It is never enough to simply subdue a perceived opponent.  You also have to go after him psychologically and downgrade his reputation before great masses of people to win their hearts and minds to your cause.  Propaganda, by its very nature, is a cleverly crafted fabric of lies, truths, half-truths, distortions of reality, hiding of truths, and the use of one or two small incidents and a few individuals to broad-brush a large group of people and paint them in as negative a manner as possible. This page asks collectors of Native American artifacts and historic-era artifacts to tell us about specific instances of propaganda that American archaeologists have used to unfairly paint all artifact collectors as bad people.  Tell us what they said and why it was so wrong and unfair.  You may do so in the Leave a Reply box below.

The following is an Example of a Collector Side Propaganda Experience of the general kind or type that we would like to see artifact collectors write into the Leave a Reply box below.  Your experiences can be either short or long.  That is all up to you.

Example of a Collector Side Propaganda Experience

Just a few years ago, several individual manufacturers of illegal drugs, specifically meth- amphetamines, were caught digging up artifacts illegally on federal lands in Arkansas. Apparently, the artifacts were being dug up and sold for cash to buy the chemicals and other supplies used to make drugs in rural, home-based meth labs.  This sort of illegal activity involving the looting of artifacts on public lands and illegal drug manufacturing was portrayed as being common in Arkansas—as if the collecting of artifacts and the manufacturing of illegal drugs just naturally went hand-in-hand all over Arkansas. Arkansas journalists were the first to break this story.  From there, it was picked up by the major national wire services and published or broadcasted in local newspapers and other media venues from coast to coast. We American artifact collectors  across the nation were outraged because these news stories, for all intents and purposes, insinuated that all American artifact collectors are somehow participants in the making and selling of illegal drugs.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Most American artifact collectors (many Christian church members) are law-abiding citizens who would never dig up artifacts illegally or be involved in the making, using, or selling of illegal drugs.  We think it is wrong, unfair, and just plain dirty-dealing for professional archaeologists and journalists to be feeding this sort of incorrect, broad-brushed propaganda about artifact collectors to the American public.


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