Skip to comments.Senate Bill Could Untie Kennewick Man Bones
Posted on 10/04/2007 5:36:07 PM PDT by blam
Senate bill could untie Kennewick Man bones
Published Thursday, October 4th, 2007
By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer
A Senate committee has approved a bill that could clear the way for Native Americans to claim the ancient bones of Kennewick Man.
This is the third time the change has been proposed to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. It would ensure federally recognized tribes could claim ancient remains even if a direct link to a tribe can't be proven.
Tribes have pushed for a change to the law since the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004 sided with scientists who said they should be allowed to study the 9,300-year-old remains because they could not be linked to any tribe.
Now tucked inside a bill that would allow tribal participation in methamphetamine grants -- among other changes -- is a two-word addition to the American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The act governs the control of Native American skeletons, requiring museums and federal agencies to return them to tribes if there is evidence that links the remains to the tribes.
The Senate bill would expand the definition of what remains are considered ancestral. It would add the words "or was" to a definition of Native American to say that when it comes to ancient remains, "Native American" refers to a member of a tribe or culture that "is or was" indigenous to the United States.
The current legislation is too new to have been considered by many of the tribes. But earlier this year the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians passed a resolution at its annual conference asking that the language proposed in the bill be added to the law. The group represents more than 50 tribes.
Without the change, more than 100,000 remains currently held in museums or other collections no longer would be protected by the statue, Walter Echo-Hawk, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, said at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing two years ago.
Tribes believe that any ancient remains in the United States are Native American and should not be studied without tribal approval.
Although an attempt to pass the changed definition failed two years ago, last week the same committee approved the bill unanimously by voice vote. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was among those in favor.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
But this time there was no public airing, said Cleone Hawkinson, a founding member of the Portland-based Friends of America's Past.
The new definition would assume that any remains found would belong to only federally recognized tribes, she said. That includes remains from small bands of people who died out and left no ancestors, and remains of indigenous ancestors to modern-day Latinos, including those who died just a couple of hundred years ago, she said.
"It narrows down and distorts history," she said.
Remains would automatically be turned over to tribes rather than requiring an ancestral link to be demonstrated first, she said.
"More than Kennewick Man is at stake," Friends of America's Past said in a message to members. "Unless this amendment is withdrawn, public access to the factual understanding of the nation's prehistory shifts to the exclusive control of federally recognized American Indians."
When the change to the law was last proposed, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., introduced counter legislation and he's expected to again.
The dispute dates to 1996 when two men stumbled upon a skeleton along the banks of the Columbia River while attending the Columbia Cup hydroplane races in Kennewick. The Army Corps of Engineers laid claim to the skeleton and planned to turn it over to local tribes. The Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Colville tribes wanted to bury the bones before they could be studied.
But scientists filed suit, insisting the remains, dubbed Kennewick Man, could not be linked to any of the tribes. Tests showed the skeleton was 9,300 years old, and some scientists suggested that rather than resembling Native Americans, the skeleton was more like the prehistoric Jomon of Japan or Polynesians or Caucasians.
w Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@ tricityherald.com
The people we know today as the Native Americans are not the same people who preceeded them to the Americans and they should have no claim to their skeletons. There are many skeletons that don't resemble Native Americans what-so-ever.
They don't want you to know that they weren't here first.
"The oldest human remains found in the Americas were recently "discovered" in the storeroom of Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology. Found in central Mexico in 1959, the five skulls were radiocarbon dated by a team of researchers from the United Kingdom and Mexico and found to be 13,000 years old. They pre-date the Clovis culture by a couple thousand years, adding to the growing evidence against the Clovis-first model for the first peopling of the Americas."
"Of additional significance is the shape of the skulls, which are described as long and narrow, very unlike those of modern Native Americans.
"White man did to the 'Native Americans' exactly what the 'Natives' did to the Original Peoples"
The thing is, the facts about who was here before the “Native American” have to be discussed separately from the moral debate about how the American Indian was treated by European settlers. Once these two different topics are separated, and guilt and culpability and other emotions are put aside for the moment, the “Native American” movement has very little to stand on. (Which, of course, is why these topics are NEVER separated.)
That would be it alright.
I think I read somewhere that the definition of aboriginal peoples is those who most effectively and utterly eliminated the people there when they arrived.
Thanks for the update. I was not aware of this.
Remains would automatically be turned over to tribes rather than requiring an ancestral link to be demonstrated first, she said.
I Think she has it backwards, tribes should prove they are linked first
The Socialist left is very comfortable with the current version of American "history."
It’s not enough that the State has driven a stake through the heart of science by funding only the research to support its policies; now it must hide the evidence as well so even privately-funded scientists can’t do the studies.
I once admired McCain. Thank God I have grown up.
So many of the old preconceptions of New Word settlement have changed of the last few years that no one can say anything with absolute certainty about almost anything.
You sound like my son.
In this case I claim the right to claim any bones I find period, even If I can prove a direct link to the bones as my ancestors. I want all the land surrounding my property for a distance of 300 miles square(not square miles) to be declared a calex59 burial ground and as such is sacrosanct and can't be tred upon except by my relatives. That should cover it and it makes as much sense as Inidians claiming bones of a people that are not even remotely related to them except for the fact they are human.
The Politics of Dead ‘Native Americans’
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Posted on 11/23/2004 2:48:40 AM EST by farmfriend
Bones of Contention: A bad bill would throttle American archaeology.
NRO.com | April 14, 2005 | John J. Miller
Posted on 04/14/2005 4:24:33 PM EDT by The Great Yazoo
NAGPRA and scientists
Native American Times | 2/22/2006 | Sam Lewin
Posted on 02/26/2006 11:32:23 PM EST by SunkenCiv
NAGPRA update [ Elizabeth Weiss ]
ArchaeoBlog | Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Anthony
Posted on 07/22/2006 4:05:24 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
Now tucked inside a bill that would allow tribal participation in methamphetamine grants -- among other changes -- is a two-word addition to the American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act... The Senate bill would expand the definition of what remains are considered ancestral. It would add the words "or was" to a definition of Native American to say that when it comes to ancient remains, "Native American" refers to a member of a tribe or culture that "is or was" indigenous to the United States.Senator John McCain has been a supporter of this in the past (see the above links).
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
Spirit Cave Man is the spitting image of Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart aka Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek fame.
Gee, to know that, you must be pretty old. Like several thousands. Of course this could be your “theory”, but then, you should present it as such.
These relics are the history of all humanity. They should be available for all of us to learn to understand the evolution of humanoids and migration pattern of early man. They are our roots and should not be made inaccessible by relegating them to one tribe to which no direct lineage can be shown.
They don’t want to lose all those tax-free casinos and tobacco franchise “reparations”, either.
Why do we even bother to seek “truth” any more?
Inevitably, somebody, somewhere who is “offended” by it will just hire lawyers to bury it.
More Blue Oyster Cult lyrics:
"I'm after rebellion; I'll settle for lies."
They or they may not be, but trying them to archaic pre-Columbian fossils is totally absurd. This is just another example of the melt-down of western civilization in the face of radical nativist types whose main agenda is not to protect their genuine immediate tribal ancestors, but to make a political statement.
Too bad we have so many gutless harlots in Congress but then most of them are Dems or RINOS so what can we expect.
On the other hand, the advancement of scientific knowledge about the paleo-history of this continent is a good and worthy goal.
Ideally one would like to see a compromise situation whereby bones discovered would be paid whatever respects a tribe feels necessary, and then ‘loaned’ to an institution for study.
Also, I’m confused about how some people seem to feel that the fact that those people we call ‘Native Americans’ may not have been the first people here somehow lessens the tragedy of what happened to them.
I am so embarrassed that there is a picture of me getting my hand shaked by D.A. Dorgan when i was a teen.
This is PURE PAYOLA.
The Indians do not want to admit that their “claims” are tenuous. Since it now can be PROVEN the indians were not alone or here first then it is a threat to their casinos.
the united states is stuck on
I think I have to disagree with you on some of the science part of your post.
One of the oldest dated, and as far as I know, the oldest specimen to provide mtDNA from the New World is the individual from On Your Knees Cave in southern Alaska.
That find has been dated, I believe reliably, to about 10,300 years ago.
And the mtDNA of this individual has been found in 47 living individuals stretching from California to the tip of South America.
This suggests that, even though the earliest Americans may have been a different genotype, their descendants are clearly found throughout the Americas.
Here is a good link explaining a lot of the findings: Long in the tooth: Dental DNA reveals our ancient roots.
Since this two-year-old newspaper article, a journal article detailing the find has been peer-reviewed and published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(4):605-621.
Here are the details:
Genetic analysis of early holocene skeletal remains from Alaska and its implications for the settlement of the Americas, by Brian M. Kemp et al.
Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA were analyzed from 10,300-year-old human remains excavated from On Your Knees Cave on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska (Site 49-PET-408). This individual's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) represents the founder haplotype of an additional subhaplogroup of haplogroup D that was brought to the Americas, demonstrating that widely held assumptions about the genetic composition of the earliest Americans are incorrect. The amount of diversity that has accumulated in the subhaplogroup over the past 10,300 years suggests that previous calibrations of the mtDNA clock may have underestimated the rate of molecular evolution. If substantiated, the dates of events based on these previous estimates are too old, which may explain the discordance between inferences based on genetic and archaeological evidence regarding the timing of the settlement of the Americas. In addition, this individual's Y-chromosome belongs to haplogroup Q-M3*, placing a minimum date of 10,300 years ago for the emergence of this haplogroup.
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