Kennewick Man Case

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Kennewick Man Bill A bill was introduced yesterday that would resolve ambiguity over who should have control of ancient remains found on federal land. The bill addresses cases similar to Kennewick Man, the 9,300 year-old skeleton that started an eight-year court battle between scientists and Indian tribes. Proposed by Congressman Doc Hastings, the bill counters an attempt by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to quietly alter an existing law, giving Native Americans claim to ancient remains, effectively barring them from scientific study. Hastings said, “This change, which is being called a ‘technical corrections bill’ is very far from a minor technical correction. It is a fundamental shift in existing law… such an extreme action should not be hidden within a mostly non-controversial bill.” Hastings’ bill seeks to clarify the Native…show more content…
No evidence could be found that could significantly relate the remains to any existing tribe, and the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that NAGPRA was intended to protect remains relating to existing tribes only, granting scientists the ability to study Kennewick Man. In September, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved a bill that could overturn the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision, and that would endanger further scientific study of ancient remains. By introducing his bill, Hastings hopes to protect the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling in the Kennewick Man case, to protect against the misapplication of NAGPRA, and to prevent similar court delays that would tie up the study of other ancient remains. Hastings challenged the Committee to defend its actions before the house delegates. “Let us have a full, open, and honest debate about what the Senate Indian Affairs committee’s provision would do to scientific study in our country,” he said.

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