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The Kennewick Man Trials and Tribulations On July 28 1996 a human skull was found along the banks of the Columbia River at Kennewick Washington runestoneorgkmfact 2002 1 This skull would lead to the discovery of a complete skeleton with characteristics of a Caucasian male The significance of this discovery is that its dated to between 9300 and 9600 years ago making it one of the earliest skeletons found in the United States and the second oldest found in Washington runestoneorgkmfact 2002 1 With this great archeological find controversy was soon to follow The skeleton was found on a portion of the Colombian River maintained by the United Sates Marine Corps of Engineers but also part of the traditional home of the Umatilla tribe According to federal law these remains must be returned to the Umatilla people but things werent that easily solved On Thursday January 13 2000 it was announced that studies of the Kennewick Man were complete and dated to 9320 and 9510 years old making it Native American therefore making it subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act NAGPRA which refers to defining the term Native American and who remains found to be Native American should belong to archaeologyaboutcomlibraryweeklyaa011400htm 2002 1 In a letter to the Corps of Engineers the National Park Service said that the remains would be subject to NAGPRA thus giving the remains to the tribe indigenous to the Kennewick Man The problem is finding the modern day tribe that is the direct descendant of the Kennewick Man At the present time there are five tribes claiming the Kennewick man to be their ancestor the Umatilla Colville Wanapum Nez Perce and Yakama oregonlivecom Patterson 1 The next step in this case was to scientifically find who the actual descendants of the Kennewick Man were To do this the remains were sent to the Burke Museum of Natural History in Seattle washingtonedu burkemuseumkmannews 2002 1 To
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