Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Juan Justo's Bones

Juan Justo’s Bones

From letters by A. P. Ousdal, Doctor of Osteopathy in Santa Barbara, to J.P. Harrington. On Dec. 9, 1930, Ousdahl was issued U.S. Pat. No. 1,784,382, for apparatus for utilizing solar radiations for therapeutic purposes.

I took it upon myself
to take care of this Indian

as he has been very sorely
neglected. I found him sick

with gangrene of the leg.
I immediately began to photograph

and X-Ray him in order
to get some records

for comparative studies
before he should die.

However, the ulcer,
approximately eight inches

in diameter, is healing
and the man is feeling so

very much better that I am
in hopes of making more

of a personal study of him.
I am trying to make several sets

of X-Rays, not neglecting
any bone whatever (realizing

that one set can be lost or destroyed,
and in being handled will receive

a certain amount of abuse,
as they are not ever-lasting).

When I get the sets completed,
I will certainly cooperate

with the Smithsonian Institution
making an interesting exhibition

and a small booklet of my study.
I hope to raise enough money

from this booklet to pay for
a granite monument, full size,

of our friend, Juan Justo.
So far I have taken care

of all expenses myself,
which is only my contribution,

tribute to the race
that once was.

Enclosed: measurements
of the bumps on the Indian’s head:

Horizontonal – 16 cm.
Breadth – 15.25 cm./

Depth – 18.75 cm.
Temple – 13 cm.

Circumference – 17 ¼ inches.
Social – 2%

Idealism – 8%
Combatative – 6%

Ear Formation – 10% (Almost perfect ear)
Width of nostril – 4.25 cm.

Width of cheekbone – 12.25 cm.
Depth of face – 16 cm.

Round prominent chin
Eyes – cataract over right eye

Color – Peculiar agate brown
I am also taking Juan’s heart rate today

by the Electrocardiograph which
will make an interesting record.

The ulcer on Juan’s leg
has healed up a couple of inches,

looks much better.
It is of a varicose nature.

I think with a little care
the old boy might outlive

any of us. It seems that a touch
of soap and water, with a few rays

from the sun, go a long way
with him. There are two burial

mounds near the city
that we ought to excavate;

I believe that they are rich
in deposits of bones and skulls …

I am anxious to compare
those skeletons with Juan’s –

they are of the same tribe. He
is improving but with a gunnysack

in the window and a leaky roof.
During the rainy season his palace

on the dump is not any too inviting.
He had to move his bed to the far

corner of the shack the other day;
to protect himself

he has an empty cement bag
which he slips over his feet at night

beside his regular bed clothes,
and this in spite of all

our organizations
for charity.

Our Juan has been sick this last
week from absorption of poison

from his leg. I was hoping to have
his picture in the nude soon.

Once I have that, with the head dress
you are making up, and your manuscript,

my book will be ready for publication.
I am hoping that when he wanders

with the spirit of his fathers
and has no use for his old bones,

that they may become the property
of the Smithsonian Institution.

That has been my aim since
I knew the man, so as to not lose

track of the data, and I pray
that I will be able to accomplish it.

In the meantime our X-Ray work
will have to do. It is a good idea

to let the public know
that Juan Justo is Smithsonian

property. Somehow
I like that idea.

His Chumash name was Suluemeait.

[I have removed the photo posted here previously, after learning from John Johnson at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History that the person featured was incorrectly identified as Juan Justo in December's Child, by Thomas C. Blackburn.  I hope to have a photograph of Juan Justo to add soon.]  dm

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