by Alton Haveri7:40pm on Tuesday 29th January 2019
Huggar (Pator III) – A dispute over the fate of a rare cache of intact ndokassi artefacts has sharpened into an ethical controversy, after a whistleblower revealed lead archaeologist Gesila Fraemar's claim that the manifest had been corrupted to be inaccurate and allegedly a deliberate deception.
Aratera Kurn, a graduate student and member of the Galar-Yu Circle, uploaded an undamaged copy of the ndokassi cache manifest to the dark GalNet forum "the Core", this morning. Kurn's release follows the disagreement between the archaeological Galar-Yu and Ihumanoana Circles as to the rightful tribal claim to the rare Minmatar Empire era relics. A specialist in cultural land heritage in Pator, Kurn posted that the discovery was too important for her circle to claim for itself alone.
Responding to the leak, Gesila Fraemar of the Galar-Yu Circle claimed that her group was motivated by a desire to verify the manifest's listing as correct and "entirely uncorrupted" before involving other parties. Fraemar declined to describe her circle's efforts to confirm the manifest's authenticity and the ndokassi contents, claiming that the process was a "trade secret" using proprietary data reconstruction and scanning techniques.
Kurn has contested the Galar-Yu authentication story in a follow up post on the Core, and commented that, "It's currently impossible to scan the ndokassi and check the contents prior to opening them. Additionally, opening them would likely damage the internal mechanisms of the ndokassi and could prevent us from replicating the technology. This is a unique treasure from our entire people's past and it's a decision which should not be left to our circle."
The complete manifest suggests that some of the ndokassi contained spores of a fungal species, known as "hapa", that was had deep ritual significance in pre-invasion Minmatar cultures. For the Nefantar Tribe, the hapa mold was a traditional ingredient in the tribe's ceremony providing for new clans to be founded. The mold would be turned into powder and scattered on the site of the ceremony, acting as blessing to free new beginnings from grudges of the past. For the Krusual Tribe, the hapa was used in funerary rites after being ground up and mixed with a poultice, which then would be massaged into the departed's scalp.
Hapa mold is well attested in historical sources for being fragile, difficult to cultivate, and short-lived. Hapa is among a number of cultivated species that Minmatar historians charge were deliberately targeted by an Amarr campaign of chemical and biological warfare aimed at eliminating traditional Minmatar agriculture and cultural life. Hapa mold was believed to have become extinct during the occupation of Pator by the Amarr Empire.
Reacting to developments, Sukandi Bjokur of the Brutor Tribe's Ihumanoana Circle expressed outrage and reiterated his tribe's claim on the ndokassi, "I name Gesila Fraemar as a mountebank and a fraud. This is an ethics violation of the most outrageous kind. It's clear that the ndokassi must be given into our keeping, especially as the full manifest confirms that at that time the ndokassi were being stored on land owned by the ancient Kul-Brutor Clan." He further suggested that he would be sympathetic to hearing Nefantar and Krusual perspectives on the potential fate of the relics given the special cultural role of hapa in their traditions.
For her part, farmer Yumi Gaunarr, had strong words on the matter. "I was growing licorice on that land but some snobby academics showed up, flashed a fancy piece of paper, and ripped up one of the fields. I haven't been compensated and neither has my clan. Did the Galar-Yu Circle have a cultural recovery warrant or did they pull a fast one on me? By the way, it's not my land, it's a clan-holding and I'm just the field-keeper here. I say we should put the damn things in a museum, and I'm going to get my clan chief to petition Acassa Midular to make sure of it."
While Hukerenui township is an inter-tribal community and the surrounding rural lands are a patchwork of different tribal and clan holdings, the fact that the farm itself is a clan-holding of a Sebiestor land clan has drawn in yet another tribe to the dispute. Multilateral discussions on the matter between the involved clans and circles seem likely to be held in the coming weeks.