indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Keepseagle v. Vilsack Settlement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Court won't reconsider Kennewick Man decision
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A federal appeals court on Monday refused to reconsider its decision to allow scientific study of the 9,000-year-old remains known as the Kennewick Man.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced the decision in response to a petition filed by four Pacific Northwest tribes. The Nez Perce, Yakama, Umatilla and Colville tribes consider Kennewick Man, also known as Techaminsh Oytpamanatityt, which means "From the Land, the First Native" in one of the Yakama Nation languages, to be one of their ancestors.

But the appeals court rejected that claim on February 4. In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel said the bones were too old to be covered under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which calls for the return of remains to tribes that can prove a cultural affiliation to them.

"[B]ecause Kennewick Man's remains are so old and the information about his era is so limited, the record does not permit the Secretary to conclude reasonably that Kennewick Man shares special and significant genetic or cultural features with presently existing indigenous tribes, people, or cultures," Judge Ronald Gould wrote for the majority.

The denial of the petition for a rehearing cements the legal victory of eight scientists who say study of the remains will further understanding of America's past. The scientists don't believe research should be limited by federal law.

"[Kennewick Man] has yet to be studied as thoroughly as scientists believe necessary in order to learn what role this individual and his people played in early human settlement of North America," the scientists said in a statement on Monday.

The tribes now have 90 days to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court. There has been no decision on whether to appeal, which would be the first repatriation case to make it to the high court.

The Department of Justice can also appeal the ruling. But government lawyers decided not to seek a rehearing, leaving it up to the tribes to defend former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's decision to repatriate the remains.

As the case progressed, the Department of Justice dropped its contention that Babbitt made the right move back in September 2000. Instead, government lawyers argued that Kennewick Man fell into the category of "culturally unidentifiable" remains.

Changing tactics at the appeals stage is not an uncommon practice. If the government had won its case, Kennewick Man would have been kept from further study because the Interior Department still has not finalized the process for dealing with remains that, for whatever reason, can't be linked to an existing tribe.

The tribes were granted status in the case last October amid questions over the Bush administration's position in the controversy. Government lawyers had waited until the last day possible to appeal the original ruling against repatriation. In September 2002, U.S. Magistrate John Jelderks of Oregon blasted Babbitt's decision as unfounded.

The Interior Department is the lead agency in the case, having taken control from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had planned to return the remains to the tribes before the scientists objected.

Kennewick Man was found on federal land that used to be part of the Umatilla Reservation but which was ceded by treaty.

Court Decision:
BONNICHSEN v. US (February 4, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Kennewick Man, Department of Interior - http://www.cr.nps.gov/aad/kennewick
Friends of America's Past - http://www.friendsofpast.org
Kennewick Man Virtual Interpretive Center, The Tri-City (Washington) Herald - http://www.kennewick-man.com (4/24)

Related Stories:
Column: Science the winner in Kennewick Man case (02/24)
Editorial: Congress should refine repatriation act (02/11)
Court rules scientists can study Kennewick Man (02/05)
Kennewick Man a topic at archaeology meeting (10/10)
Appeals court hears arguments in Kennewick Man case (09/11)
Kennewick Man battle back in court (9/8)
Groups join battle over Kennewick Man remains (06/12)
Iroquois nations join Kennewick Man battle (04/04)
Tribes file opening brief in Kennewick Man case (03/19)
Appeals court grants stay in Kennewick Man case (02/13)
Appeals court asked to stop Kennewick Man tests (01/23)
Judge clears way for Kennewick Man tests (01/09)
DOJ files notice of Kennewick appeal (10/30)
Kennewick Man battle heats up (10/29)
Tribes join Kennewick Man case (10/23)
Tribes seek to protect NAGPRA (10/23)
Judge allows Kennewick Man appeal (10/22)
Still no Kennewick Man appeal (10/18)
Editorial: Let's study Kennewick Man (10/02)
DOI mum on Kennewick Man appeal (10/1)
Opinion: Don't appeal Kennwick ruling (10/1)
Tribes seek Kennewick Man appeal (9/27)
Editorial: Don't appeal Kennewick ruling (09/17)
Opinion: Don't appeal Kennewick ruling (9/9)
John Potter: Mad about Kennewick Man (9/9)
Shame on Kennewick Man judge (9/6)
Opinion: Kennewick Man belongs to all (9/5)
Editorial: DOI blew it on Kennewick Man (9/5)
Scientists prepare Kennewick plan (9/4)
Judge won't repatriate Kennewick Man (9/3)
An ancient Indian trust debacle (9/3)
Judge readies decision in Kennewick Man case (6/21)
Norton treads uncharted waters over remains (4/11)
Kennewick Man to go to tribes (09/26)
Leaders discuss NAGPRA (7/27)
Yakama Nation files Kennewick Man suit (6/01)
Kennewick testing to begin

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge actors make a splash with new film (5/29)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Let's change the image of 'Racist City' (5/29)
Miccosukee Tribe joins Native youth announcement at DOI in DC (5/29)
Kurt Luger: It's time to put an end to the Indian wars in America (5/29)
Summer Montileaux: Silence on sexual abuse in Indian Country (5/29)
John Guenther: Protecting Indian children and protecting ICWA (5/29)
Kerry Hawk Lessard: Urban Indians come together in Baltimore (5/29)
Lydia Millet: Selling off sacred Apache land to foreign interests (5/29)
Stuart Delery: Safeguarding voting rights of the first Americans (5/29)
Student from Navajo Nation competes in national spelling bee (5/29)
Navajo Nation to vote on fluency requirements for candidates (5/29)
Cherokee Nation signs hunting and fishing compact with state (5/29)
Onondaga Nation player earns top lacrosse award for 2nd year (5/29)
Wisconsin Supreme Court rules for Oneida Nation in permit case (5/29)
School district in Wisconsin bans clothing with 'Indian' mascots (5/29)
Republican former congressman Dennis Hastert hit with charges (5/29)
Court allows lawsuit against gaming officials of Pechanga Band (5/29)
Another lawsuit seeks to block Jamul Band from $360M casino (5/29)
Bill for one more tribal casino in Connecticut sent to governor (5/29)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe shares another $2.7M in gaming funds (5/29)
Native Sun News: Ex-Rapid City police chief admits erasing tape (5/28)
Omaha Tribe surprised by appeal in reservation boundary case (5/28)
Mary Annette Pember: Historical trauma might affect Native DNA (5/28)
Erik Stegman: Native youth subjected to racism and stereotypes (5/28)
Charges announced in big drug trafficking ring in Indian Country (5/28)
Osage Nation expects to see offers from land buy-back program (5/28)
Voters of Red Cliff Band show support for some uses of marijuana (5/28)
Maine tribes assert sovereignty and sever relationship with state (5/28)
Navajo Nation sees larger numbers of sand dunes on reservation (5/28)
Mille Lacs Band plans public hearing on proposed energy pipeline (5/28)
Michigan tribes warn of disaster from pipeline spill in Great Lakes (5/28)
Coquille Tribe completes acquisition of 3,200 acres of forestland (5/28)
Spiritual leader of Lipan Apache Tribe back in court over feathers (5/28)
Lumbee Tribe to appeal findings of misuse of federal HUD funds (5/28)
Nebraska ends death penalty in historic and close veto override (5/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation chooses new leader amid casino conflict (5/28)
Poarch Creeks file lawsuit over taxes imposed on gaming facility (5/28)
Connecticut tribes counting up votes on bill for one more casino (5/28)
Comanche Nation closed casino for one day to address flooding (5/28)
Native Sun News: EPA hears Native views about uranium mining (5/27)
Renae Yellowhorse: Navajo Nation can't cede power to outsiders (5/27)
Donna Loring: Politicians circle the wagons around Maine tribes (5/27)
David Treuer: Andrew Jackson turned on Cherokee Nation allies (5/27)
NCAI responds to criticism from Rep. Young on land-into-trust (5/27)
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (5/27)
Hopi Tribe seeks to prevent auction of sacred property in France (5/27)
Indian students face harsh punishment at public schools in Utah (5/27)
Menominee Nation school sees dramatic rise in graduation rate (5/27)
Poarch Creeks planning family-friendly entertainment at project (5/27)
Coquille Tribe names executive at economic development entity (5/27)
Cherokee law students eager for summer work on Indian issues (5/27)
USDA sends $125K to Indian economic development corporation (5/27)
County by Pine Ridge Reservation receives justice service grant (5/27)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to challenge Sen. John McCain in 2016 race (5/27)
Law Article: Indian inmate wins religious rights suit in Wisconsin (5/27)
Alaska Native corporation holds election for five seats on board (5/27)
Blood Tribe combats rise in abuse of extremely dangerous drug (5/27)
First Nations housing program brings just 99 homes to reserves (5/27)
Supreme Court won't hear challenge to Graton Rancheria casino (5/27)
Kialegee Tribal Town given extension to respond in gaming case (5/27)
Quapaw Tribe looks to dispel concerns about casino in Arkansas (5/27)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles in plan to develop casino in Indiana (5/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.