Kennewick Man Case: Scientific Studies and Legal Issues
The human skeletal remains that have come to be referred to as the “Kennewick Man” or the “Ancient One” were found in July 1996 below the surface of Lake Wallula, a section of the Columbia River pooled behind McNary Dam in Kennewick, Washington. The discovery was made by a pair of college students wading in the shallow water along the southern lake bank. Most commentators and reporters described the legal controversy that developed and swirled around the Kennewick remains in rather super-heated rhetoric pitting the interests of “science” against those of Native Americans. This characterization ignores the detailed, intensive, and wide-ranging scientific investigation of the Kennewick remains undertaken by scientists and scholars as part of the government team’s effort to determine the facts relevant to the questions in the case. Many news reports inaccurately suggested that scientific study of the Kennewick remains did not occur, or that studies were hidden from the...
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