The Kennewick Man

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Archaeology Pages: 5 (1863 words) Published: January 8, 2013
When we think of prehistoric bones and fossils we think of dinosaurs and creatures of huge amount of size, but the findings of Kennewick Man changed the very thought of prehistoric beings. So exactly who is the Kennewick Man and why is he so important? Why is he given such a name as to Kennewick Man? Why would anyone want to fight and file lawsuits on each other to for a pile of old dusty bones? Well that’s what is found here on the case of “Kennewick Man.” Scientist and Native Americans just can’t keep their hands off this precious specimen. Why does one deserve Kennewick Man over the other? What values does he hold for them? Can Kennewick Man do anything to help either the Native Americans of scientist?

Even though Native Americans deserve the rights to the Kennewick Man, scientist have just as much rights to study Kennewick Man because the science that they will perform could uncover much truth of the past and scientist discoveries from this specimen could even help us human beings in the future to come.

Who exactly is the Kennewick Man? Thousands of years ago Kennewick man lived and hunted in what is now Washington State. His tribe was among the first to cross the land bridge into North America. He had a hard life and lived with many serious injuries, including a spear point embedded in his pelvis. He later died in his forties and was buried by his kinsman.

Scientist has the rights to study Kennewick Man. In previous centuries archeologists were content simply to find objects. Today, armed with computer, laboratory analysis, theories about society and culture, and a wide range of questions about human development and migration, scientist now have the tools to shed light on the origins of the first Americans. In other words- we have the tools and the technology, so why not use them? Archeology is especially important and useful in helping us to understand people and events about which little or nothing has been written. The past would be surely lost unless we defend out right to learn about the heritage of all Americans. This evidence must be preserved, and scientist must be allowed to study it, if we hope to indentify and understand the lives of the earliest Americans. Science offers the process to test hypotheses using factual evidence. We must keep our country free for exploring and expressing all views and explanations of our past. We must insist that good scientific methods be practiced, free of political motives.

Is the Kennewick Man really a part of the Native American tribe or is this just a story that’s known upon the Indians to tell? "If Kennewick Man were actually Caucasian, it would be a startling discovery. So far, all of the oldest North American skeletons have been of Asian descent, although features on a few skulls have been controversially interpreted as Caucasoid. Another possibility is that the first Americans -- and their Asian ancestors -- had features that were Caucasoid. The real test of these theories would be DNA, which can pinpoint which modern populations are most closely related to the skeleton and so help identify the ancestors of early Americans and perhaps give clues to their migration patterns." Kennewick Man resembled the South Asians and the Ainu people of northeast Asia. The Ainu migrated to North America over eight-thousand years ago and died out some eight-thousand years later. “The story that unfolded was unexpected; his bones seemed to say that he belonged to no Native American group…” stated by Glover. This revealed that Kennewick Man was of no descent of the Umatilla Indians and therefore NAGRA does not apply. What the scientists say about the importance of the Kennwick Man stated by a Dr. Bonnichsen, professor of anthropology as OSU

“Only through scientific study of important discoveries such as Kennewick Man can objective knowledge of America’s rich and diverse past be developed and fully appreciated by all communities who have stake in the past.”


Cited: -Gibbons, Ann. “DNA Enters Dust Up Over Bones”
JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
-Dr. Robson Bonnichsen,” Mystery of the First Americans”
PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012.
-Glover, William. “Kennewick Man and the Story of the Settlement of the New World.” Conversation for Exploration. January 1, 2000. May 14, 2009.
-Armand Minthorn. "Ancient One / Kennewick Man." Ancient One / Kennewick Man. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
-Lemonick, Michael D. "Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
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