Advertise:   712.224.5420

Column: Fine tuning of Native repatriation act

"A federal court fight made Kennewick Man the symbol of the struggle between science and native beliefs over the telling of the earliest Americans' story. But Kuw�ot yas.�in proves it doesn't necessarily have to be so.

In this 10th summer since Kuw�ot yas.�in and Kennewick Man were found on federal land, the U.S. repatriation law requires some combination of clarification, enforcement and accountability. Next month, U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, will introduce legislation to clarify Congress' original intent in passing the Native Americans Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). That is, only remains with a substantial cultural relationship to presently existing tribes should be repatriated given back 闗 to the tribes.

Hastings' bill counters efforts in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to undermine the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of scientists who successfully sued to study the remains. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., held a hearing last year on a NAGPRA amendment that would make it easier for modern native people to claim human remains by virtue of common geography rather than cultural affiliation.

The contrasting approaches should revive debate to fine-tune the 1990 repatriation law, a righteous law that establishes a process for museums and federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. While most museums have met their inventory and notification deadlines, many federal agencies have been slower to act. The inconsistencies are so concerning that the federal NAGPRA review committee plans to ask Congress for a Government Accountability Office audit."

Get the Story:
Kate Riley: Who owns the past? (The Seattle Times 8/27)
Editorial: Science and tribal beliefs (The Seattle Times 8/27)

Relevant Links:
National NAGPRA -

Related Stories:
Federal Register: Nominations for NAGPRA panel (8/18)
Commentary: Long battle to repatriate ancestors (8/18)
Bill allows study of ancient remains on federal land (08/10)
Art museums urged to work with tribes on artifacts (08/10)
Anniversary of Kennewick Man discovery nears (07/25)
Perspective: NAGPRA impacts art and science (03/29)
Time Magazine: Who Were The First Americans? (03/15)
Repatriation a major issue for tribes, museums (03/09)
Opinion: Common ground in Kennewick Man study (3/6)
Science Snapshot: Study of Kennewick Man (2/28)
Scientists continue study of Kennewick Man remains (2/24)
Kennewick Man's teeth may tell true age of remains (02/02)
Bush administration opposes NAGPRA amendment (07/29)
Listening Lounge: Senate hearing on repatriation (07/28)
Editorial: Science trumps Native repatriation (7/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings (7/25)
Editorial: McCain should drop NAGPRA amendment (7/20)
Scientists wrap up work on Kennewick Man remains (7/19)
Kennewick Man scientists fear NAGPRA amendment (7/15)
Scientists begin study of Kennewick Man remains (7/11)
NAGPRA amendment up for hearing in Senate (07/06)
Column: Hearing slated on two-word change to NAGPRA (06/24)
Scientists get ready to study Kennewick Man (6/21)
Tribe says NAGPRA amendment will right a wrong (04/19)
Opinion: McCain bill will block study of ancient remains (04/14)
Scientists oppose McCain bill to change NAGPRA (04/08)
Panel approves Native Hawaiian, NAGPRA changes (03/10)
NAGPRA change up for Senate consideration again (3/9)
Tribes seek role in Kennewick Man proceedings (02/16)
Campbell-backed bill adds two words to NAGPRA (10/1)
Battle over Kennewick Man study far from over (08/02)
Editorial: Let Kennewick Man speak! (say what?) (07/22)
Column: Kennewick Man belongs to everyone (7/21)
Tribes to seek restrictions on Kennewick Man study (7/20)
Tribes drop Kennewick Man claim in court (7/20)
Repatriation process criticized at Senate hearing (07/15)
Editorial: It's about time Kennewick Man case ends (04/29)
Tribes debate next step in Kennewick Man case (04/27)
Kennewick rehearing denied (4/21)
Court rules scientists can study Kennewick Man (02/05)
Kennewick Man battle back in court (9/8)
Tribes file opening brief in Kennewick Man case (03/19)
Appeals court asked to stop Kennewick Man tests (01/23)
Norton treads uncharted waters over remains (4/11)