Genetic analysis confirms Kennewick Man was Native American

A reconstruction of the skull of Kennewick Man by a scientist who doesn't believe the remains are Native American. Photo from Wikipedia

Kennewick Man, an 8,500-year-old ancestor whose remains were discovered on federal land in Washington, was Native American, a study published today in Nature confirms.

Scientists conducted an genetic analysis on the remains of Techaminsh Oytpamanatityt, which means "From the Land, the First Native" in one of the languages on the Yakama Nation. The result demonstrate a link to present-day Native people -- more specifically, to those living in Washington.

"We have always maintained the belief that the Ancient One was one of us," Jim Boyd, the chairman of the Colville Tribes in Washington, told Phys.Org. The Ancient One is another translation of the ancestor's name.

The remains were discovered in 1996 on federal land that was ceded through a treaty with the Umatilla Tribes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was prepared to repatriate him to tribes in the Pacific Northwest but a group of scientists were able to conduct studies after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004 determined that the remains were too old to be covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The Yakama Nation, the Colville Tribes, the Umatilla Tribes and the Nez Perce Tribe still hope to reclaim their ancestor. The remains are currently being held at Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington.

DNA tests on other individuals of similar age to the Kennewick Man have shown similar results. A 12,600-year-old baby boy found in Montana showed direct links to present-day Native Americans as did a 12,000-year-old girl who was found in Mexico.

Get the Story:
Ancient American genome rekindles legal row (Nature 6/18)
DNA from ancient skeleton shows ties to Native America (Phys.oR 6/18)
DNA study links ancient Kennewick Man to Northwest tribe (The Tri-City Herald 6/18)
Genome Analysis Links Kennewick Man to Native Americans (Smithsonian.Com 6/18)
New DNA Results Show Kennewick Man Was Native America (The New York Times 6/18)
DNA Links 8,500-Year-Old Kennewick Man to Native Tribes (Discovery News 6/18)
DNA analysis proves Kennewick Man is Native American (CBS News 6/18)

Related Stories
Initial DNA tests show Kennewick Man linked to Native peoples (1/19)
Scientists publish lengthy book based on study of Kennewick Man (08/25)
Remains of 12,600-year-old Native toddler reburied in Montana (06/30)
DNA of girl found in Mexico linked to present-day Native people (05/15)
Pacific Northwest tribes still planning to rebury Kennewick Man (07/29)
Anthropologist from Kennewick Man case turns to cannibalism (05/02)
Crosscut: Kennewick Man returns from dead 9200 years later (10/11)
Anthropologist says Kennewick Man was not Native American (10/10)

Join the Conversation