Court rules scientists can study Kennewick Man
Thursday, February 5, 2004

In a unanimous decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said a group of scientists have a right to study the 9,300-year-old remains known as the Kennewick Man.

The court rejected the Department of Interior's contention that the remains were linked to five tribes in the Pacific Northwest. Writing for the majority, Judge Ronald Gould said the bones were "so old" and information about them was "so limited" that the government can't reasonably repatriate them to the tribes. The judges basically ruled the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) doesn't apply to very old remains.

The decision is a victory for eight scientists who want to conduct tests on the remains. Kennewick Man is one of the oldest and most complete skeletons discovered in the U.S.

Five tribes -- the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce, Colville and Wanapum -- say the Ancient One is their ancestor. They may consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The remains were found on land that used to be part of the Umatilla Reservation but was ceded by treaty.

Get the Story:
Appeals court says scientists can study Kennewick Man (AP 2/4)
Scientists win Kennewick Man ruling (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/5)
Science wins ancient bones battle (BBC 2/5)
Judges Back Study of Ancient Human Remains (The New York Times 2/5)
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Get the 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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