Rep. Hastings: Scientific study of America's past
"In 1996, one of the oldest known skeletons in North America was found along the banks of the Columbia River. The 9,300 year old skeleton, later named Kennewick Man in honor of the city in which it was found, sparked a heated controversy and lengthy court battle about how to deal with ancient remains found on public land.

In 1996, federal agencies tried to block scientific study of Kennewick Man and dispose of the bones as quickly as possible. The fate of Kennewick Man was tied up in court for years as scientists sought to study the ancient remains. In 2004, a Ninth Circuit Court ruling cleared the way for the ancient bones to be studied.

However, without clarifying current law actions by federal agencies, Congress or the courts could threaten our ability to learn about America's ancient past. The Interior Department has recently drafted a proposal that would effectively prevent the scientific study of ancient remains by mandating the transfer of culturally unidentifiable remains to Native American groups. This represents an obvious attempt to end-run congressional intent and the federal court ruling in the long-fought Kennewick Man case and would severely hinder the scientific study of ancient remains."

Get the Story:
Rep. Doc Hastings: Studying Kennewick Man and America's ancient past (The Grand Coulee Star 1/30)

Federal Register Notice:
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Regulations--Disposition of Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains (October 16, 2007)

NAGPRA Bills:
S.2087 | H.R.4207

Kennewick Man Decision:
BONNICHSEN v. US (February 4, 2004)

Relevant Links:
National NAGPRA - http://www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra

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