Re: Caucasian remains in Oregon

Amit Mehta (
Sat, 19 Oct 1996 20:21:39 -0400

Wilson Lynn wrote:
> Did anyone hear about the find in Oregon of a 9,000 year old Caucasian
> skeleton. The news was broadcst on CBC National News on Oct. 13. Apparently
> there is controvery brewing re Native issues. I only caught the tail end of
> this item!

Yes, I did; it definitely had interesting implications. Here's the
article from CNN interactive(

"PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuter) -- A
group of scientists has filed a lawsuit
seeking to block Indian tribes from
reburying an ancient skeleton of
possible major historic significance.

In a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court, the scientists
asked for an order blocking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from
handing over the so-called "Kennewick Man," which has become embroiled
in a cross-cultural controversy since its discovery July 28.
The bones, believed to be from a Caucasian male, were found protruding
from a bank in the Columbia River at a park in Kennewick, Washington,
near the Oregon border, by a pair of college students at a boat-racing
Originally, scientists thought they might be the remains of a man of
European origin from the 19th century, and were astounded when
radiocarbon dating done by the University of California at Riverside
concluded the bones were more than 9,000 years old.
The skeleton is not only the oldest ever found in the Columbia Basin,
but it could be the most compelling evidence to date that North
America€s first settlers migrated across a land bridge that once spanned
the Bering Straits.
The fact that the bones appear to be those of a Caucasian with a large
nose and thick bony brows could cast new light on the question of who
the first Americans were.
But a coalition of tribes, citing the 1990 Native American Graves and
Repatriation Act, has claimed jurisdiction over the bones and plans a
ceremonial burial.
The skeleton is being held in a secret location by the Corps of
Engineers, but under the law it must be turned over to tribal
authorities next week, said Corps spokesman Dutch Meier.
"We understand that non-Indian cultures have different values and
beliefs than us," Armand Minthorn of the Umatilla tribe said.
"We are not trying to be troublemakers," he said. "We are doing what our
elders have taught us: to respect people while they€re with us and after
they€ve become part of the Earth."

Copyright 1996 Reuters Limited. All rights

Amit Mehta