Re: A Demand for the Kennewick Man's Remains
20 Nov 1996 13:46:13 GMT wrote:

>OK, I'm not very clear on usenet slang -- is this post a spam or a troll,

>and why?

Stella replied:
.I don't think it is either. It isn't the first time I've seen
.something about this situation posted here. I think it is an update
.of a report from someone who has done something rather odd with the
.current law as it stands. If the remains are as old as he says they
.are, and if they are caucasioid remains, he does have a point. The
.local tribes that have claimed the remains are no closer related to
.them than anyone else in the world is, and he has the advantage over
.them because he is, at least, a memeber of the same general race.

.I think he might like some discussion, but I doubt if he is going to
.get any more on this attempt than on the previous one. Certainly not
.on this group.

.Stella Nemeth

The situation is an annoying one, and the poster has a clever response,
though not one likely to get results, unfortunatly. The remains in
question, after a cursory examination did seem to have some cranial
features which would be more at hom in Europe than North America. These
means little, however. We have thought for some time that the seeming
homogeneity (which genetic analysis has shown to be not that homogenous
after all) of Native American populations is the result of fairly
disparate groups in very small numbers interacting over some 12,000 years
or so. The fact is we know very little about the original populations who
crossed the Bering landbridge, and would like to know more. Any skeleton
that old offers us just such an opportunity. I personaly doubt that a DNA
analysis will show it to be "caucasoid" but it will probably show that he
was quite different from modern Native American populations.
Unfortunatly, if certain Native Americans have their way, we will never

Having worked a bit with repatriation (not for the state, but for Indian
tribes), I know how difficult it is to show "tribal affinity" even in the
last hundred years or so. A paleo skeleton cannot possibly have any
demonstrable ties to any living group without DNA analysis. The request
is thus reasonable -- study the skeleton, and if it does show marked
affiliation with the modern locals, then they might have a case. People
have a very fuzzy mind set when it comes to Native Americans however --
they think of them as timeless and unchanging, the same now as they were
8,000 years ago. This is nonsense, and the fact that some NA groups
believe this about themselves is beside the point.

--Greg Keyes