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Kennewick Man Saga Lives On
Tri-City Herald ^ | 6-17-2002 | Mike Lee

Posted on 06/17/2002 2:13:28 PM PDT by blam

Kennewick Man saga lives on

This story was published 6/17/02

By Mike Lee
Herald staff writer

With the fate of the ancient bones found in Kennewick six years ago remaining in legal limbo, Peter Lampson has decided to take action.

It's been a year, and the judge still hasn't issued a public pronouncement about the future of Kennewick Man. But the 17-year-old Lampson isn't waiting for the ruling to make his mark.

In one of a handful of developments related to the once high-profile case, Lampson is erecting a sign in Columbia Park to commemorate Kennewick's world-famous former resident, who was dredged from the Columbia River shallows during the 1996 hydroplane races.

Lampson has approval from Kennewick Parks and Recreation, which ran into trouble with the Army Corps of Engineers the last time a Kennewick Man sign was proposed for the park.

He's also got the materials. And he's got a site: the Audubon nature trail -- more than a half-mile from where Kennewick Man was discovered. Authorities don't want the exact spot marked because someone could vandalize or dig in the area.

He's also got motivation to get the sign up quickly -- something that rarely happens when Kennewick Man is involved.

The 3-foot-by-7-foot sign with photos and a brief written narrative is Lampson's Eagle Scout project, which he needs to finish before he turns 18 in just a few weeks.

With all that impetus, Lampson has a chance to make his Eagle rank before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks issues his opinion in a case that he heard one year ago Wednesday.

Interest remains in case

On June 19, 2001, tribal leaders, scientists and federal lawyers converged on U.S. District Court in Portland to settle the fate of the 9,000-year-old bones, known to American Indians as the Ancient One.

"The case is going to take a significant amount of additional work," Jelderks said at the end of the hearing, adding that he hoped to clear up gray areas so "it's clear what I've done and why I've done it."

The parties and the interested public still are waiting with anticipation for results in a case that promises to set a precedent for how some ancient remains are handled. It also promises to be appealed, no matter the ruling.

"We haven't heard a peep," said Cleone Hawkinson, a Portland anthropologist who founded Friends of America's Past to support scientific access to ancient remains such as Kennewick Man.

"I think it is a good sign that he is doing a thorough and thoughtful job in assessing all of the points of view," Hawkinson said. "Of course, we are curious (but) it's far better to have a legally sound and thoughtful opinion as opposed to a quick one."

Darby Stapp, an anthropologist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, speculates that Jelderks already has made up his mind but is still trying to figure out how to justify a decision in favor of the scientists who sued for the right to study the bones.

"I think most observers have thought that he has been pro-suing-scientist all along," said Stapp, who sides with the tribes on this issue. "I think everyone is just appalled that it's taken this long."

During the legal intermission, the Smithsonian Institution has reiterated its desire to study and store the remains, which currently are housed at the Burke Museum in Seattle.

Last fall, the Smithsonian's undersecretary for science sent a letter to Jelderks once again offering the institution's renowned facilities "in the event that you determine that the remains should be examined in greater detail."

That, of course, is the major question before Jelderks.

The suing scientists argue that Kennewick Man can't be proved to be a lineal descendant of existing tribes and therefore should not be given to them for reburial. Instead, they want the near-complete skeleton available to science as one of the best-preserved links to the early peoples of North America.

The government argues that Northwest Indian tribes have a "shared group identity" that gives them a "reasonable connection" with Kennewick Man.

The government also has argued that remains older than the historically documented arrival of European explorers in the New World are legally Native American.

Jelderks could rule on the case without addressing the definition of Native American, said Alan Schneider, lawyer for the scientists. And, he said, in a position statement about the case, "even if the court does reach the substantive merits of the issue, it could choose to craft its own interpretation of the statutory definition."

Such issues also are faced by the national committee charged with reviewing and implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, the law that governs remains such as Kennewick Man.

Armand Minthorn from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton is the NAGPRA committee chairman. Minthorn, whose tribe is among those seeking the Ancient One's remains, could not be reached late last week.

NAGPRA issues alive

The NAGPRA committee has taken an active role in shaping the nation's policy on handling ancient remains. Earlier this spring, for instance, the committee ruled on a case from Nevada with similarities to Kennewick Man.

On April 9, the committee contested a decision by the Bureau of Land Management that the 9,000-year-old Spirit Cave Man could not be culturally affiliated with the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe that claims the bones.

Led by Minthorn, six of seven committee members said the government failed to fairly assess the evidence, which they said "indicates a relationship of shared group identity" with the present-day Fallon Paiute-Shoshones.

It's the same kind of modern-day relationship issue presented in the Kennewick case; however, unlike Kennewick Man, the Spirit Cave remains were found with associated cultural items.

Not surprisingly, such NAGPRA issues continue to be a source of controversy.

In the Spirit Cave case, for instance, the committee's official report didn't include the lone dissenting opinion, which raised Hawkinson's fears about the committee's ability to balance the interests of science with tribal demands.

"The biggest concern," she said, "seems to be an attitude or a beginning assumption that everything must be returned to someone and it doesn't really matter if there is a relationship or not."

River collections analyzed

Well outside the controversy over Kennewick Man, Washington State University has embarked on a project that eventually might shed more light on the early peoples who camped along the Columbia River in the present-day Tri-Cities.

Earlier this month, the Pullman school announced it had been awarded a $98,000 grant to catalog artifacts collected from the Columbia River during the dam-building era of the mid-1900s. The money comes from the Payos Kuus Cuukwe Cooperating Group whose members include representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration and several Northwest tribes.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, much of the archaeological work in the Columbia Basin was done under emergency salvage conditions as dams were built and flooded Northwest river basins.

Today, it's hard to know what's in the boxes.

The largest collection to be rehabilitated using grant money was excavated from Bateman Island at the north end of Columbia Center Boulevard in the late 1960s. It's held in about 135 storage boxes -- and its contents are largely a mystery.

"That's one of the things that we don't know," said Mary Collins, associate director of the Museum of Anthropology at WSU. "It's one of those sites that has never been thoroughly analyzed or reported."

She anticipates that most of the Bateman Island collection is less than 2,000 years old, and it's not expected to contain human or burial artifacts that would be subject to NAGPRA.

The most important part of the effort likely will be replacing dozens of paper lists with a database of what's in the collections -- work that eventually could shed more light on early life along the great river of the West.

"The project will result in bringing many older collections ... up to modern curation standards and greatly improving access to the collections for research, teaching and traditional cultural uses," said Bill Andrefsky, chairman of WSU's Department of Anthropology.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; kennewick; kennewickman; lives; man; on; saga
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1 posted on 06/17/2002 2:13:28 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Kennewick Man

2 posted on 06/17/2002 2:16:21 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Spirit Cave Man (Believed to be related to Kennewick Man)

3 posted on 06/17/2002 2:17:47 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
That is very interesting. I was wondering lately what had happened to KM.
4 posted on 06/17/2002 2:22:13 PM PDT by mickie
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To: blam

Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise. Note the close resemblance to "Spirit Cave Man." Coincidence? :-)

5 posted on 06/17/2002 2:23:17 PM PDT by Campion
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To: blam
Buhl Woman

Found: January 1989, at a gravel quarry near Buhl, Idaho
Age: 10,600 years
Discoverers: Highway workers
Significance: Having been reburied by Shoshone-Bannock tribes in 1991 before thorough study could occur, Buhl Woman underscores scientists' fears of losing access to ancient Paleoindian skeletons.

Dead before she turned 21, this young woman found a final resting place in a gravel bar beside the Snake River, where windblown sand and silt slowly covered her body. Her right cheek lay atop a pressure-flaked, pointed obsidian tool, perhaps made specially as a grave gift.

In life, Buhl Woman ate abundant bison and elk, as well as salmon heading upriver to spawn. Sloping surfaces and heavily worn enamel on her teeth - unusual for someone so young - indicate that her diet included frequent doses of sand or grit, as if her meat had been pounded or stoneground into a jerky.

Lines of interrupted growth on her thigh bone tell of stress from illness or malnutrition during childhood, but she grew to a height of 5'2" and otherwise enjoyed good health. What caused her death remains unknown.

(Buhl Woman was believed to have been a member of the same group as Kennewick Man and Spirit Cave Man. No facial reconstruction exists, James C. Chatters)

6 posted on 06/17/2002 2:24:23 PM PDT by blam
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To: all
Perhaps these Caucasoid, even Europoid, skeletons were just those of early explorers, a la DeSoto, or Cabeza de Vaca, or Coronado or La Salle, who came to grief in the wilds of North America!

BUT ONE THING IS SURE! The tribes that are trying to interfere with science and with the fair use of their bones FOR science, are both obscurantist and evil, and also are unaware of their own histories, for those tribes/cultures/peoples in no case can be shown to have been in those regions for even a THOUSAND years, to say nothing of nine to twelve thousand years.


7 posted on 06/17/2002 2:27:29 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: blam
Prince Of Wales Island Man

Found: July 1996, in On Your Knees Cave, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Age: 9,200 years
Discoverers: Kevin Allred and Timothy Heaton
Significance: By far the oldest human remains from Alaska or Canada, the Paleoindian bolsters the view that early immigrants journeyed over water by boat or other craft.

In a damp, cramped den called On Your Knees Cave offered shelter to people seeking refuge from the glacial climate. They camped here at least 10,000 years ago.

Black and brown bears had long occupied the cave, and perhaps the man who died here in his early 20s pursued a bear with obsidian-tipped spears. The hunter left little of his body behind - a lower jaw, some of his pelvis, ribs and backbones. No one can say how he died, but gnaw marks on his bones came from a carnivore that scavenged the remains.

Chemical signatures in bits of his jaw and pelvis reveal that Prince of Wales Island Man ate a diet heavy in seafood, rather than relying on the meat of abundant deer or bear. He had to hike a half mile to reach the coast from the cave, but tools found in and around the cave suggest that he and his cohorts were accustomed to long-distance travel.

Artifacts fashioned from a variety of exotic raw materials - obsidian, quartz, cherts and opal-like silica - that would have been unavailable on the island could mean that extensive trading had begun along the Pacific coast.

Though discovered just a few weeks before Kennewick Man, the Prince of Wales Island Man has traveled a much less contentious and controversial path to reveal a few clues about the earliest Americans. Alaskan tribal representatives agreed to have his remains examined and dated, and to participate in continuing excavations.

8 posted on 06/17/2002 2:29:49 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Captain Piccard!
9 posted on 06/17/2002 2:32:27 PM PDT by brbethke
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To: blam
All the people I have covered (above) are believed to belong to the same racial group, Ancient Encounters, James Chatters. The people we call American Indians/Native Americans appeared in the skeletal record beginning only around 6,000 years ago.
10 posted on 06/17/2002 2:35:05 PM PDT by blam
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To: crystalk
Exactly. But people get very touchy when they think you might overturn their little "truths." Humans are a strange bunch.

The ironic part is that they do more to discredit their side with trying to sweep it under the rug rather then by leaving it out for people to see and study.

It might have been nothing. Thanks to the attempts to cover it up it is now Something.

11 posted on 06/17/2002 2:41:37 PM PDT by another cricket
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To: blam
"Native Americans" are in full panic mode, trying to bury all evidence that their ancestors weren't the first. It's futile. As more evidence gathers and forensic methodology improves, the truth will become unstoppable. For "Indians," there goes their status of Professional-but-Noble Victims.

What is emerging is a horrifying picture of the ancestor's of today's "Indians" having come to the Americas thousands of years after earlier migrations and promptly murdering everyone they found.

We already know that the "Indians" systematically drove to extinction every large game animal in the Americas except for the bison. So much for the "living in harmony with nature" crap we've been fed for 40 years.

12 posted on 06/17/2002 2:48:59 PM PDT by pabianice
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To: pabianice
"harmony" bump.

Don't you know that bad weather killed all those large mammals?

Or maybe it was the 'Ice-People'. lol

The clock is ticking on this racist horsesh*t; once folks start to laugh, it'll be over. ;^)

13 posted on 06/17/2002 2:57:15 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: pabianice
Well, actually, if we beleive that the indians were not the original inhabitants, then we have to beleivet that the extinctions were caused by the ones that were here before the indians. (I think)
15 posted on 06/17/2002 3:00:21 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

Quick! Go file a claim for the bones. He obviously is a long lost relative. I am sure you can come up with some sort of family story to explain his being there.

17 posted on 06/17/2002 3:14:41 PM PDT by another cricket
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To: blam
Patrick Stewart.
18 posted on 06/17/2002 3:30:42 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: pabianice
"What is emerging is a horrifying picture of the ancestor's of today's "Indians" having come to the Americas thousands of years after earlier migrations and promptly murdering everyone they found.

We already know that the "Indians" systematically drove to extinction every large game animal in the Americas except for the bison. So much for the "living in harmony with nature" crap we've been fed for 40 years.

I think the jury is still out on the murdering and the cause of the extinctions of the large mammals. Chatters, in his book, Ancient Encounters, makes note that the skeletons and partial skeletons (of this Kennewick Man group) indicate that many have severe damage (mostly deadly) to the left side of the skull. All female skeletons found were/are under 24 years of age. The American Indians (Northern China descendents) begin to show up in the fossil record 3-4,000 years after the Kennewick man group. Kennewick Man is believed to be from the Joman/Ainu people from around the area of Japan. (Not China)

19 posted on 06/17/2002 3:39:39 PM PDT by blam
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To: Confederate Keyester
"One half mile = long distance?"

Yup. Didn't make sense to me either. One-half-mile isn't too far to walk for breakfast, huh?

20 posted on 06/17/2002 3:52:07 PM PDT by blam
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