Archaeology heritage is in critical danger
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Since the administration of West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith began, my professional life has been completely destroyed.
I came to West Virginia in 2006 to be curator of the West Virginia Archaeological Collections. I was a "civil service" employee, as opposed to being a "will and pleasure" employee such as fired State Archivist Fred Armstrong.
Randall Reid-Smith also fired me in 2010 and had me escorted out of my building by two West Virginia State Troupers, like some kind of criminal.
My unemployment hearing lasted 6 1/2 hours. Everyone who has read the transcript says I was set up.
I have worked 20 years in nine states and for many institutions, corporations and private foundations. I am a professional archaeologist. I resent Randall Reid-Smith telling me that I "did not behave."
I have lost my home, car, credit, job, but not my self-esteem. As curator of collections, I was not even permitted to sign for UPS packages from institutions containing archaeological information that arrived at our Research Facility in Moundsville. We were not allowed even a meager budget.
Randall Reid-Smith fired me because I challenged his flawed judgment on how to properly care for West Virginia's vast archaeology collections. He refused us the use of DNA analysis on our artifacts. He attempted to rebury our skeletal material that was of great importance not only to archaeology, but to all Native Americans. This was mentioned in articles in the New York Times and USA Today, as well as in professional publications.
Even with expert help and advice, my battle to regain my former position has been uphill. I write this article to inform the citizens of West Virginia, not to invoke sympathy.
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