Telling a tale 9000 years old


Kennewick Man, the nickname for an nearly complete 9000 year old human skeleton found near Kennewick, Washington, is beginning to tell his story to scientists. It was a tale which was almost lost to us.

Using the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act as their excuse, the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Colville tribes wanted the bones reburied without scientific study. They had no evidence that the remains belonged to a member of any of their tribes, and preliminary examination, now confirmed, revealed that the facial structure of the skull was unlike the norms of native American tribes, and in fact closely resembles European skulls.

Only a lawsuit prevented the Army Corps of Engineers, which controlled the land where the bones were discovered, from handing over the remains to the tribes.

The European—like bone structure raises very uncomfortable possibilities for those whose political claims depend on the myth that Europeans were unwelcome conquerors of "indigenous" tribes (that actually emigrated from Asia). If Europeans also emigrated, but were genocidally wiped—out by the ancestors of today's Native Americans, it makes for a less—compelling guilt trip. And guilt has yielded the riches of casinos for lucky tribes and speaking engagements for Ward Churchill.

We await further word on the research findings. They could be very interesting.

Hat tip: Jim

Thomas Lifson   7 12 05