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Why Do Tourists Visit Ancient Ruins Everywhere Except the United States?

Stashed in: America!, Freakonomics

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Theft is not the only concern; so is respect. 

Dr. Keene, for example, has several friends who portrayed American Indians at Sturbridge Village, a “living museum” in Massachusetts that re-creates rural life in 1830s New England. "Visitors thought they weren't native because they didn't look like a Hollywood Indian," says Keene. "Or people asked them about the Washington football team. The public still leaves with the impression that natives were savage or uncivilized. These experiences are hard on native people."

There are no residents of Stonehenge or the pyramids. But the relatively young ruins of North America are still homelands to many native peoples. 

“We call them sacred sites—not necessarily archeological sites,” Camille Ferguson explains. “The sacred sites are where the grave sites are. It’s something that hasn’t really been looked at as an attraction as much as something to be protected. I like to see ruins, but some of those cultures are very much alive.”

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