The earth really moved for those watching as workmen razed Sayers House Friday afternoon. Specialists in the business of careful destruction had already demolished the building and in their stead, others had come forward with their enormous machines to remove all the debris and level the exposed soil beneath. All the work was being executed with the utmost care not to disturb anything which might have value to those for whom this land is sacred. And, just to make sure nothing went wrong, everything was being supervised by Dr. McGeorge Archibald, Cliff's Soc/Anthro Department Chair and Co-coordinator of Archaeology, and Cliff College Trustee Dennis Dubois (class of '73), founder of NASU -- Cliff's Native American Student Union (originally the American Indian Student Union) -- proprietor of Cliffton's historic Firewater Tavern, and the moving force behind the long fight through the courts that has still not resolved the question of whether or not The College must return this plot of ground to the tribe to whom it is sacred.
Carefully clearing debris, master construction worker John Lewisohn (Cliff '65) thought that he was almost finished for the day when he uncovered something unexpected. Indeed, just beneath the surface, he had unearthed a human skeleton! Dr. Archibald, who had just arrived to consult on the excavation of the site was anxious to conduct an examination, but was frustrated by Chief Dubois who insisted that the site be sealed until a shaman could be summoned to conduct a proper Native American burial ritual.
Arriving soon after was Cliff College Head of Security Dick Francis, who attempted to examine the bones but was rebuffed by NASU protestors who contended that the remains may be those of early 18th Century Nez Percé Chief Shouting Bull.
In a statement to this Miscellany reporter, Mr. Francis insisted that the bones didn't look that old to him, leading him to suspect that the demolition crew had stumbled onto a long-buried homicide victim! Mr. Francis went on to suggest that the most plausible explanation (and one requiring an official inquiry by his department at the very least) is that the corpse belongs to someone who was affiliated with The College in the recent past.
Cliffton Police Detective Elizabeth Goswell (Cliff '73) arrived within hours, but was similarly barred from the site by NASU, which has mounted a round-the-clock occupation of the site. Police were reportedly preparing to arrest the students when a representative of the U.S. Department of the Interior arrived on the scene and advised Detective Goswell that such a move could be an actionable civil rights violation if the skeleton were to turn out to be Native American. As of this writing, the situation is tense and the stalemate continues.