Kennewick Man: an Ethical Dilemma

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Kennewick Man: An Ethical Dilemma
Vincent Pelosi

Kennewick Man has started and added to an immense saga about the ethics involved in excavating and studying the remains of other that passed away long and not so long ago. Kennewick man being one of the hottest topics of the media during the mid-nineties has proved to be one of the most trying ethical dilemmas of our time. An ethical dilemma as described by Kelley Ross Ph. D is a “conflict between the rightness or wrongness of the actions and the goodness or badness of the consequences of those actions” ( In the case of the Kennewick man the coalition of the tribes are trying to do what is best for their culture and belief by having the Kennewick man buried and the scientists who want to study this strange humanoid that has shown up on the banks of the Columbia River and are acting how they believe this should be handled, with careful study and the need to find the knowledge that this skeleton can provide about America nine millennia ago; and here is the problem that has been floating around this case for little over a decade. Both parties the Coalition of the tribes and NAGPRA and the scientists believe that they are doing the right thing by this discovery. In this paper I will introduce the Kennewick case and discuss the parties and their personal views that have made this such an important case along with thought of my own to add to the criticisms of the professionals that were involved.

The Kennewick man was a monumental find to further our understanding of the history of the migration patterns of the people that culture sees today. The Kennewick man being a 9200 to 9600 year old skeleton made him one of the oldest nearly whole skeletons found in North or South America. The Kennewick man was found on July 28th 1996 by two college students whose names were Will Thomas and Dave Deacy while they were walking along the Columbia River near Kennewick Washington trying to...
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