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News: USA
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A reconstruction of the so-called Kennewick Man’s head based on remains found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996. Photo Credit: FILE/KRT/The Seattle Times.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Kennewick Man buried on Columbia plateau

After a debate that lasted two decades

The remains of a man found in North America are returned to local tribes for reburial after a 20-year long debate between tribes and scientists. Native Americans refer to the skeleton as The Ancient One while scientists refer to it as Kennewick Man.

The remains are 9,000 years old and were unearthed from the banks of Columbia River in 1996. They are among the oldest and most complete human skeletons found in North America. However, a dispute between scientists and local tribes broke out after they were discovered, since the former wanted to keep the remains for study and the latter wanted to rebury them.

The tribes believed that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act would favour their case. However, the scientists won the legal battle and were therefore able to perform tests and analyses and study the remains. They concluded that the man was most closely related to modern Native Americans. Former President Barack Obama before leaving office signed in December for the remains to be returned to the tribes for proper burial. A projectile point found on Kennewick Man’s right hip was also returned to the tribes.

The remains were buried on Saturday, at a secret location on the Columbia Plateau, with the presence of about 200 members of the tribes. The tribes that took possession of the skeleton include the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Wanapum Band of Priest Rapids.

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