The highly controversial treatment and care of the human skeletal remains that have come to be referred to as the "Kennewick Man" or the "Ancient One", disinterred; July, 28, 1996, poses a multiplex of conflict. The remains were removed from a location below the surface of Lake Wallula, a section of the Columbia River pooled behind McNary Dam in Kennewick, Washington State, during a water sports event, July 29th. Being informed of the discovery of the remains, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers preceded to x-ray and CAT-scan the remains. On July 30th a local newspaper in Eastern Washington publishes a story of the discovery. The first public news leads representatives of local Native American communities to contact officials about the discovery. One bone fragment was sent to the University of California, Riverside, to be dated by a destructive test on August 5th. Early analysis reports upon the now irreparably damaged bone fragment dated the skeletal remains to be approximately 8,400 years old. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for the land where the remains were recovered took official possession On September 2nd. A group of five Native American tribes claim the human remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agrees to the tribal claim(s) and publishes an official "Notice of Intent to Repatriate" statement as required by Federal NAGPRA law. This degree of cooperation is unprecedented and very much embraced amongst the Native peoples perusing the reburial and respectful treatment of the remains. On October the 16th eight anthropologists file suit for the possession of the remains in the U.S. Magistrate Court of Portland, Oregon, to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from repatriating the remains to the tribes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers defers possession of “Kennewick Man” to the U.S. department of the interior.
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