Kennewick Man Will Return Home to Native American Tribes

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tags: archaeology, Kennewick Man

He’s been referred to as “the most important skeleton ever found in North America” by numerous experts over the years. Kennewick Man – as the 9,000-year-old remains of the Paleoamerican have widely become known as – was discovered in 1996 near the city of Kennewick, in eastern Washington. Now, after a two-decade legal battle sparked by the discovery, it’s been determined that Kennewick Man is in fact related to modern populations of Native Americans and can be claimed and buried under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Under NAGPRA, museums which receive federal funding and possess Native American skeletal remains are required to reach an agreement with Native American tribes, about the best way to repatriate them. Once tests have confirmed the affiliation of any remains, the Native American nations are allowed to determine how they’ll be disposed of. According to Nicholas K. Geranios with the Associated Press, that’s exactly what they intend to do.

When the skeleton was first found, it was seen as an invaluable look into our past. The largely whole skeleton’s age alone made it a prized artifact for researchers who hoped it could be used to identify the origin of America’s migration. When the first scientists to study the remains described the skeleton as having a “lack of Native American characteristics”, a debate was sparked that has stormed ever since.

Read entire article at New Historian

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