Scientists wrap up work on Kennewick Man remains

A group of scientists has wrapped up 10 days of study of the 9,000-year-old remains known as the Kennewick Man.

The scientists expect to issue a preliminary report in October. One issue they examined is whether Kennewick Man is Native American.

Two anthropologists quoted by two news reports say the skull has Indian features. But Doug Owsley, the lead scientist who has been a vigorous critic of repatriation law, is rejecting that characterization.

The scientists went to court to prevent the remains from being repatriated to four Pacific Northwest tribes. A federal appeals court ruled that the bones weren't covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold an oversight hearing on NAGPRA on Thursday, July 28. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the committee, is sponsoring a bill that would change the definition of "Native American" under the law to ensure that it applies to all remains and artifacts that can be linked to present-day or past tribes.

Get the Story:
A Skeleton Moves From the Courts to the Laboratory (The New York Times 7/19)
Scientists wrap up analysis of bones; report planned in October (The Mid-Columbia Tri-City Herald 7/15)

NAGPRA Amendment Bill:
S.536: Technical Corrections Act

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

Relevant Links:
Kennewick Man, Department of Interior -
Friends of America's Past -
Kennewick Man Virtual Interpretive Center, The Tri-City (Washington) Herald -

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