Kennewick ManKennewick Man
is the name for the remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River
near Kennewick, Washington
. The remains were initially given to forensic anthropologists, who studied them until it was determined that the remains were of a man who lived approximately 9000 years ago. A controversy emerged when an analysis of the bones' features suggested "caucasoid" descent. The history of the colonization of North America
by humans, once thought to have occurred via a simple migration across the Bering Strait land bridge
during the most recent Ice Age
, has increasingly been revealed by archaeological evidence to be much more complex; multiple waves of humans have apparently made the journey, via different means and from different regions. Kennewick Man may be evidence of such a colonization wave.
According to the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, if human remains are found on federal lands and their cultural affiliation can be established, the bones must be returned to the affiliated tribe. The Umatilla Tribe of Native Americans then requested the remains back, wanting to bury them per tribal tradition. However, their claim has been contested by researchers hoping to study the remains; if Kennewick Man has no direct connection to modern-day native tribes, then NAGRA wouldn't apply.
As of this writing (2002), the remains are tied up in court.
- Ancient Encounters, Kennewick Man & the First Americans, James C. Chatters, Simon and Schuster, hardcover, 304 pages, ISBN 068485936X