Skip to comments.US Officials Return Ancient Remains To Indigenous Tlingit Tribes After Scientific Testing
Posted on 10/21/2007 9:10:07 AM PDT by blam
US officials return ancient remains to indigenous Tlingit tribes after scientific testing
The Associated Press
Published: October 19, 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: Human remains estimated to be more than 10,000 years old will be returned to southeast Alaska Tlingit tribes 11 years after they were found in a cave in the Tongass National Forest.
It is the first time a federal agency has conveyed custody of such ancient remains to indigenous groups under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, U.S. Forest Service officials said Friday.
"It's a pretty substantial find," said Tongass spokesman Phil Sammon.
Vertebrae, ribs, teeth, a mandible and a pelvic bone were among the remains discovered in 1996 during a Forest Service archaeological survey for a proposed timber sale on northern Prince of Wales Island. The area is the aboriginal homeland for Tlingit tribes.
Stone tools also were found inside On Your Knees Cave, an extensive limestone network.
The Forest Service immediately consulted with area tribes as required by the repatriation law, which mandates that federal agencies, and institutions receiving federal money, return American Indian remains and cultural items to tribes.
There was never any dispute that the remains should go to Tlingit tribes in Craig and Klawock, communities on the island. The tribes and Sealaska Corp. the southeast Alaska Native regional corporation in February petitioned the agency for custody of the remains.
This came after a lengthy process including scientific analysis that determined the remains were 10,300 years old. Through DNA and other testing, researchers identified the remains as belonging to an indigenous man in his early 20s who subsisted primarily on seafood.
In the remains, the tribes saw an ancestor offering himself for knowledge and learning, said anthropologist Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, the nonprofit cultural and educational
(Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
Teeth from an Alaskan Cave Provide Clues to Ancient Migration Patterns
DNA extracted from teeth in a human mandible, recovered from an island cave off southern Alaska, may provide clues to the route taken by the earliest migrants to the Americas. Representing the earliest human DNA ever isolated in the Americas, the sample, according to molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp, includes fragments of both mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA. The teeth came from the mandible of an adult male discovered with associated pelvis bones in 1996 in On Your Knees Cave on Prince of Wales Island (fig.1). This ancient stratigraphic level also contained obsidian microblades, other stone bifaces, and a bone tool dated by AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) to 10,300 +/- 50 BP (AR 3,2). This is currently the oldest artifact from the Northwest Coast whose date is widely accepted.
According to E. James Dixon, principal investigator of archaeology at the cave site (officially known as 49-PET-408), humans were exploiting the maritime resources of the Northwest Coast by at least 9,500 BP (or 10,150 cal BP). Isotopic analysis of these human remains showed he typically ate maritime food, including saltwater fish, sea mammals, and shellfish (Dixon 2002; AR 3,2). Given the cave's location 1 km from the coast, combined with the presence of non-local obsidian and a maritime diet, Dixon concluded that the ancient inhabitants were coastal navigators with established trade networks. Additional evidence for early maritime adaptations and the use of boats or rafts also occurs at other coastal sites from Santa Rosa Island off California to Ecuador and Peru. Dixon and other researchers have suggested that the first human entryway into the Americas may have occurred along the west coast through the use of watercraft.
[Fig.1: Location of 49-PET-408 on Prince of Wales Island and obsidian sources on Sumez island and Mt. Edziza (after Eric Parrish)].
DNA recovered from the 49-PET-408 individual appears to support this coastal migration theory. The DNA was compared with mitochondrial DNA from more than 3,000 Native American sequences taken from public databases. Matches were obtained from samples of modern and ancient individuals, with the coastal Cayapa of Ecuador accounting for more than 50% of the matches. Others included the Chumash (California), the Klunk Mound people (Illinois), the Tarahumara (Chihuahua, Mexico), and the Mapuche and Yaghan tribes (Chile) - thereby tracing a possible migration route.
Current molecular genetic studies of human mtDNA suggests that five founding lineages were responsible for the colonization of the Americas over 10,000 years ago (Schurr 2002). The four principal lineages (also known as haplogroups), designated A-D, account for over 95% of all mtDNAs of modern New World indigenous populations, as well as the majority of mtDNAs of ancient Amerindian populations. The man from On Your Knees Cave belonged to lineage D, found in significant frequencies among Patagonian Amerindians (over 50%); Andean Amerindians (~33%); Amazonian Amerindians (~33%); N. American Amerindians (10%); US SW Amerindians (5%); Aleut (75%); and Eskimos (~23%) (Schurr 2002: fig.5). A fifth lineage, designated X, is present among a very restricted number of populations.
Comparative studies of these genetic lineages are leading to a better understanding of the ancestry of Native Americans and the timing of the first colonization of the New World. Haplogroup A-D mtDNAs occur together in Asian populations from the Altai Mountain region to Japan and Korea. Significant frequencies of Haplogroup C and D mtDNAs, moreover, are found in all eastern Siberian populations, and are also present in many East Asian populations (Schurr 2002). The timetable for the arrival of these lineages in the New World has been the subject of considerable research, with current estimates of arrival based on molecular studies ranging from an "early" entry of 35,000-20,000 cal BP to a "late" entry of 14,000-12,000 cal BP) (Schurr 2002).
Recent studies of Y-chromosome variations (transmitted only from father to son) have been tracking male migrations in time and space. With Y-chromosome DNA successfully extracted from the On Your Knees man, comparisons with the rapidly expanding genetic database should provide additional insights to his molecular makeup and affinities.
As a footnote to the investigations at On Your Knees Cave, archaeologists and the local Tlingit and Haida tribes, in contrast to the conflict surrounding Kennewick Man, have cooperated in the ongoing quest to learn more about the earliest traces of humans in the Americas.
NAGPRA strikes again. This guy was apparently 10,300 years old. Older than 9,000 year-old Kennewick Man. Hell, if the government is going to indulge the injuns in this way, why not take advantage of it?
Then again, if the gadfly archaeologist James Chatters had not run around giving interviews comparing his discovery to “Jean Luc-Picard” the usual suspects likely would never have even heard of him and the ensuing circus might never have happened.
I really think if a living relative who remembers the guy in question while he was alive can come forward, they should get the remains. Otherwise....
With Y-chromosome DNA successfully extracted from the On Your Knees manUh-oh. Homosexual agenda.
Thanks Blam.This came after a lengthy process including scientific analysis that determined the remains were 10,300 years old. Through DNA and other testing, researchers identified the remains as belonging to an indigenous man in his early 20s who subsisted primarily on seafood.To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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Marty = Paternal Haplogroup O(2?)(M175)
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The next thing you know, we will be paying for funeral rite costs for fossils of “Origianl People” aka “first Nations”.
Political correctness gone totally insane.