how long do you have to live somewhere to be indigenous?


"Kennewick Man" is a 9,000-year-old Patrick Stewart look-alike.

Science wins ancient bones battle:

A US appeals court has given permission to scientists to study a 9,000-year-old skeleton - despite the objections of some Native American tribes.

The bones were found by two teenagers near Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. Native Americans want to bury what they call the remains of a distant relative, but scientists say the unusual features of the skeleton need further study. [...]

"It's a terrific decision, it's seven-and-a-half years coming. Of course we've got to wait and see whether the government is going to appeal it," Professor Robson Bonnichsen, one of the scientists who fought the case, told BBC News Online. [...]

Department of the Interior scientists say "Kennewick Man" is unlike any known modern Native Americans, although they do not rule out a distant biological connection.

This kind of shit really annoys me.

Hey, I've got an idea! Let's take this scientific treasure, and instead of using it to learn more about the origin of our whole species, let's give it to some dumbass and let him dump it in a hole in the ground. Dear Umatilla, Yakama, Colville and Nez Perce tribes: I'm really very sorry that someone I'm not even related to gave your great-great-great-grandfather smallpox, but fuck you: get over it already.

Tags: , ,

79 Responses:

  1. nicked_metal says:

    Because, as we all know, the intellectual curiosity of a man in a white suit outweighs the familial affections of a man with red skin.

    • jwz says:

      Yes, science trumps superstition. Fuck that "cultural relativism" bullshit.

      • nicked_metal says:

        I'm sure a lot of people's lives will be made much better by the study of the corpse. Well, I guess that depends how many people are on the research team, really.

      • I totally agree. But I am curious if you really mean what you say. What of the parents of children whose hearts were kept by hospitals for research? What of people who don't agree to be used for donor organs? If reason were *really* to rule, no-one would have any say in what happened to their dead bodies and if their relatives gave a shit it would be written off as as superstitious nonsense. As it is we have to balance our ideas of what is a 'reasonable' superstitious or religious belief and what isn't. My personal opinion is that it's not reasonable to insist for religious reasons that all human beings who used to live in North America were of the same origin when this has been shown to be scientifically implausible, but having read some of the venom in the responses to this post I can certainly see more clearly why current American racism might lead native peoples to support this view.

      • quercus says:

        How far can you really abandon cultural relativism though ?

        Try this same situation with Mengele and his physiognomic sample collecting at Auschwitz instead. Is it still justified ?

        What about Alder Hey hospital and the collection of children's organs ? (if you're not a Brit, then Google for it). A great many bereaved parents were directly affected by this, for neglible scientific benefit.

        I'm only too happy to consider a "scientific benefit outweighs superstition" argument, but you haver to consider it, not just reject everything else out of hand as "mere worthless superstition".

    • 33mhz says:

      They have about as much a familial connection to those bones as I do with Willian the Conqueror. Much less, actually, considering that these remains are all of 9,000 years old.

      Anyway, if the "men with red skin" were serious about this, they simply would've a small army of the undead to reclaim old Patrick.

    • grahams says:

      What familial affections? There is no evidence whatsoever that this skeleton is related to any of these tribes.

      • stephendann says:

        For added value, the only way to prove the connection may well be the further scientific examination that the court case is currently contesting.

        $

      • nicked_metal says:

        How silly of me. There I was, thinking that since he was found on land where those tribes used to live for a very long time, that he might be an ancestor of theirs. Now that I look at it from your point of view, it does seem pretty far-fetched...

        • wasteddream says:

          Sooo.... If i kill a man, and leave his body in your kitchen, does that make hime your uncle?

          • nicked_metal says:

            Ah, thank you for exposing the fundamental flaw in my reasoning! Clearly, the person was killed, put on a boat, shipped over to what would later become the United States, and buried there in order to throw suspicion off the real culprit.

            Gotta say, that's a pretty clever murderer, achieving all of that several thousand years before the invention of ocean-going vessels. Must have done it on foot - what with the land bridges and all, they must have put the body in a sack and carted it around for a month or two.

            Gotta admire the dedication and effort involved, either way.

            • wasteddream says:

              You've pretty much just opened up one of the main arguments *for* study. Namely, if these remains prove not to be ancestral to the peoples we know to have been living in that area, then obviously dude came from somewhere else. "Somewhere else" in this case possibly identifiable by comparing these remains (after study) to what we know of remains found in other places. And if that place happens to be over, say, an ocean, then that proves the existance of ocean-going vessels long before we thought they existed, for instance. See, that's how this thing called "science" works.

              And to further clarify my original point, since you seem incapable of understanding metaphor, just because a corpse was found in one location doesn't mean the person lived the majority of his or her life in that location. 9,000 years isn't really all that long in the course of human evolution.

              Stop misplacing your aggression, realize that whatever emotional burden you seem to be carrying and trying to force on others doesn't apply here, and think with your brain.

              • nicked_metal says:

                just because a corpse was found in one location doesn't mean the person lived the majority of his or her life in that location. Actually, if you go back before the invention of transport technologies, it does.

                You stated that there is no evidence that the tribes were descended from this person. The location of the body is evidence.

                Feel free to support your case with evidence and reasoning if you decide that using wildly inappropriate metaphors doesn't work. Alternatively, you could continue making silly remarks about knowing what "science" is, or diagnosing my mental state.

                But perhaps, as a courtesy to <lj user="jwz">, we should move this little 'debate' to my journal, which I think is a better place for me to pick fights with people. (Maybe <lj user="jwz"> is enjoying this, I'm being cautious.)

                So I've stated a view here, feel free to tell me what you think.

                • wasteddream says:

                  No, I think we're pretty much done. I don't know how to proceed when a person demonstrates an acute inability to understand logic.

                • hepkitten says:

                  wtf? transport technologies? are we going back to before feet were invented? A person can walk a hell of a long way in a lifetime. And a boat isn't *that* hard to build, or conceive of. I am confused as to how one can hold the view that a person is inherently stationary, especially considering that most scientific evidence bears out that man started out nomadic. Care to elaborate? Perhaps this is Legless Man.

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    Yeah, OK, the foot is a technology, I concede that one.

                    But seriously, this guy is saying "There's no evidence he lived there." And although man was nomadic, that doesn't mean he was constantly migrating. The nomads of Mongolia are pretty well known for doing their nomadic wanderings inside Mongolia.

                    Sure, it's possible that the skeleton wasn't from there. But a bizarre assertion followed up by ridiculous argument doesn't make for a strong case. The balance of probability indicates that the skeleton would have lived in that general area.

                  • hepkitten says:

                    true, but the outside chance that it is NOT from there is what makes it so worth studying, ne?

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    Well, here we get to what the real question underlying this debate: "What is worth studying?"

                    Now I don't dispute for a moment that studying this skeleton would be interesting. Fascinating, probably, if you work in the field. But I would be surprised beyond measure if the research produced something that actually improved the welfare of anybody (beyond providing some fascinating fun for some scientists).

                    And, sentimental softie that I am, I feel like the most important thing is to help people to be happy. I'm disappointed that the tribes-people involved felt that researching this skeleton was offensive to them. I'm disappointed that the scientists involved decided to take the fight to the courts, rather than taking an opportunity to be nice to some people that have seen rough times.

                    The thing that offends me is the idea that this is some sort of 'moral victory'. It's not. A bunch of self-important scientists fought a bunch of self-important tribespeople and won.

                    The people taking the most pleasure in this victory of intellect over consideration also seem to be the most obnoxious in the way they express their views. Could it be that they value intellect over consideration? Does this have implications for what happens to a society when you arrange your values in that way? My answer is "Yes".

                  • hepkitten says:

                    Well I have respect for your position even though I don't agree with it. I don't think science always has to always have direct immediate physical benefits to mankind. I like the fact that my children can learn about things such as evolution, and am excited that this possibly will add to their knowledge. :)

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    I think it's OK to pursue science purely for the sake of curiosity. Sometimes, it produces surprisingly useful results. But let's be honest and say, "I'm doing this because I think it's interesting" and not say "I'm doing this for Science and the Improvement of Humanity".

                  • hepkitten says:

                    Education doesn't improve humanity?

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    Nice question. Pretty tough too.

                    Knowledge is a form of power. Intellectual discovery, education, the 'advance of science', these things are ways of obtaining knowledge. The problem is that the more powerful you become, the more important it is to use that power responsibly.

                    If you say that nothing should obstruct the forward motion of science, you are saying that the only worthwhile goal is to obtain more and more power. I believe that putting the acquisition of power above all other goals reduces a person's ability to behave responsibly.

                    Education has value. But it is not the only thing that has value. Sometimes, there are things that have more value.

                • hepkitten says:

                  Also the evidence which directly contradicts this is the fact that the body pre-dates the tribes being in said location, or really on this continent at all. Perhaps this is the MAGICAL TIME TRAVELING ANCESTOR though. :)

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    Heh :)

                    OK, so you think that the evidence provided by the location of the body is countered by the evidence that there weren't tribes in the area at the time? Seems pretty reasonable.

                    [insert semantic argument about "no evidence" versus "other evidence contradicts"]

                    Sounds interesting, even. Possibly even fascinating ;)

          • It depends which man it is that you killed.

            Hi, LOKI!!!

        • lars_larsen says:

          If I find a skeleton of a triceratops on their tribal land, is that related to them too?

          • nicked_metal says:

            Oh, so he's not an ancestor of the local humans! Well, you're right they shouldn't object to having him dug up. Pity about those silly scientists who seem to think he's got something to do with the origins of humanity.

            • lars_larsen says:

              I've read that about 40 times, and it still doesn't make sense. Sorry, I can't respond to it if I cant grok it.

              • nicked_metal says:

                If it is fair to compare the skeleton to a triceratops, then the point you were making was that the skeleton is a member of a different species, a species sufficiently different to that of the tribes that there might not be a meaningful relationship.

                Proceeding on the basis of that assumption, I concluded that the tribes are indeed incorrect to object to the research. I also concluded that the research was flawed.

                • hepkitten says:

                  I believe the point he was TRYING to make is that just because something is found in the vicinity of something else is no reason to automatically assume that the two are completely related and drop it. Questions like this are how science works. "What is beyond the horizon?", "What is that bright light in the sky?", "Perhaps this weird old skeleton is something important?"

                • lars_larsen says:

                  You only know if its a difference species through scientific study. Even if its ad-hoc scientific study.

                  My point is, not everything buried on their land is related to them. I used a different species to isolate location as the sole definition of whats related.

                  Other people lived here before them, and other people came here after them. Just saying its on their land doesn't mean its related to them.

                  Read what you just wrote, and then what you wrote before that I didn't understand, do they look remotely similar?

                  I'm feeling distinctly trolled now, so I'm going away.

                  Jamie, you attract some serious loons. Thats impressive. :)

                  • nicked_metal says:

                    I agree, the fact that the skeleton is on their land is not proof that it's one of their ancestors. But to compare a humaniod skeleton to a triceratops is farcical, and got a farcical response.

                    Now that you've made your point more clearly, I understand it better. Thank you for being the first to ask that we speak clearly, it does seem better that way.

        • flipzagging says:

          It's pretty clear that familial connection is virtually impossible. Humans migrate. The chance that the tribe has existed in that spot for 9,000 years is zero. If you want to talk genetic kinship, every native group in North America has an equal claim to this find.

          The problem here is that some members of some native groups believe in a separate creation for their tribes, and that their cultures existed in their present form since the formation of the world. Unfortunately it has gotten tangled up with resurgent native pride -- some see this as resisting "white" science.

          This is not a majority viewpoint even among natives, as far as I know. I'm against fundamentalist cultural conservatives wherever they are -- I see no reason to treat them differently from anti-evolutionists in Georgia, USA.

          • nicked_metal says:

            Well said.

            It's clear to me now that I didn't express myself very clearly when I started on this little adventure. If you follow my exchange with <lj user="hepkitten">, I think I managed a higher standard there.

            You're right that the reason the tribal leaders in question want the skeleton back in the ground is because they have a different point of view. A view of kinship based around sharing the same land is not less valid than a view of kinship based around genetics.

            As far as the accounts I'm aware of go, those who object to this research have done so in a way that is in accordance with the law, and acknowledges the right of the scientists to have a different point of view. I would regard that as "integrity", not "fundamentalism".

            "Fundamentalism" is what happens when you regard any point of view other than your own as invalid. Fundamentalism is how people are able to say "Fuck you" to people that never did them any harm, and yet not feel bad about it.

            The evidence I'm aware of says that it isn't the tribespeople who have been acting like fundamentalists.

            • flipzagging says:

              A view of kinship based around sharing the same land is not less valid than a view of kinship based around genetics.

              This is a novel theory of the case, as far as I can tell. The concept of kinship was not in question; the tribes were trying to claim "cultural affinity" to meet a legal standard.

              "Fundamentalism" is what happens when you regard any point of view other than your own as invalid.

              No... that's orthodoxy, or maybe doctrinairism. Fundamentalism has a precise meaning.

              I am not sure where you are at now. Your position seems to be blurred between "I just wish those scientists had respected native views more" to "I don't believe evidence and reason is inherently different from mythology and belief".

              You can email me if you really want to discuss this more, we're going way off topic.

    • denshi says:

      In a white suit? Hell yes! David Byrne's curiosity trumps all comers!

    • When the scientists are done with his skull, they're going to give it to me, and I'm going to make love to it on my couch while watching star trek reruns.

  2. equiraptor says:

    Mmmm, Patrick Stewart...

  3. jotunheim says:

    Wow. The courts finally settled this.
    I remembered watching this on 60 Minutes many years ago. The other issue was that the "Kennewick Man" had European features and pre-dates Native American settlers. That means that the Kennewick Man or the European man came to the New World before the Natives did. This would have many implications to it, which wouldn't benefit Native Americans.

    Personally, science 0wnz dogmatic beliefs.

  4. brad says:

    But what does everybody feel about Jewish people?!?

    BTW, Jamie, <lj user=dina>'s friend was one of the guys that found Kennewick man. Apparently he was sneaking into a boat show, treading through the water to avoid the entry fee at the front gate at the pier, and stepped on him or something. I've heard this story about a dozen times since we've been dating.

    • dina says:

      You've heard it a dozen times because some friends of mine sneaking into a boat show and finding a skull that turns out to be Kennewick man is a good story.
      Anyhow, his descendents obviously didn't care about him enough to go looking for him. It's like those people who suddenly become your best friend when something big happens to you. How do they know what his burial tradtions were thousands of years ago? How do they know that he hadn't been given a proper burial in the first place? Or maybe he was a societal outcast not allowed to be buried with the others. Whatever the case, this was no longer sacred ground. He was left to be found at a boat show by drunk Irish-American kids who had thought they might have solved a murder mystery.

      • I have to point out that it may no longer have been 'sacred ground' because the tribes didn't exactly get to pick where they put their reservations.

        Which adds in the point of how many of the 'current local' tribes very likely migrated - by choice or force - to the area a lot more recently than 9000 years ago. I may have ancestors buried nearby, but that doesn't make 'my people' native to California; 9000 years ago 'my people' were chipping flints somewhere in southern Europe.

        Great story, though. I am going to start sneaking into boat shows and hope I make a big archaeological find. Ever since my dad dug up a half-million-hear-old handaxe rock he's been insufferable.

  5. mrmustard says:

    I think it's fine they pour over this skull. My problem is the experiments they conduct on our older relatives... like homo habilis. In my culture (which you are welcome to join) we have a great deal of reverence for the "ancients" who lived in Olduvai Gorge. They were special because they had no language, stood about 2 and a half feet tall, were eaten by leopards and howled at the moon during the night. We have great respect for them. You should too. Let them sleep.

  6. Okay, so my dad's an archaeologist. And my great-grandmother was probably Cherokee. (Not on the rolls, so I can't claim tribe.)

    I'm on the side of science on this one, I admit. At some point we have to draw the line between science and faith, and I think that a reasonably respectful examination of the very dead probably-not-ancestor would benefit the sciences - and they had better take lots of records/measures/photos/casts before it's put back where it's found with appropriate ceremony by whoever feels like performing one.

    Nonetheless, the anti-Native American outbursts on this subject - here and elsewhere - are pretty fucking appalling. Mr. 'drunk casino worker' up there probably can't claim much better for ancestry - who can? - but so far, while the Amerindian voice may not win on logic, it's ahead on good manners (aka 'not being a racist fuck' in this context).

    I don't believe the NA nations were protesting this case specifically because it might prove that this 'ancestor' wasn't an ancestor, or that Caucasians got to this mudpatch before somebody else. Most such archaeological cases (possible Amerindian corpses) require some politeness and politicking with the local tribes, and sometimes one side or the other wins. I think this case went high-profile because the scientists wouldn't give up as quickly on a 'unique find' as they sometimes do on yet another 19th century NA burial site.

    In an interesting counterpoint, any of y'all SF locals familiar with Mission Dolores' graveyards? Every so often I go down there and yell fruitlessly at whatever student is stuck manning the gift shop, in protest. Of what? Well, while I respect and would support historical sites financially if I wasn't unemployed, it irks me to have to pay to go into the graveyard - not the building, the graveyard - where one of my great-grandparents happens to be buried. Colma doesn't charge admission, last I checked. But what really pisses me off is the missing graves. When Mission St (I may have the wrong street) was widened a few decades ago, they whacked off a chunk of the old graveyard and shoved it to Colma. Archaeologists carefully identified, numbered, labeled and charted all the Indian remains, which were re-interred in a nice memorial - that's all well and good. And the Irish and whatever white early settlers with the headstones? Nobody seems to know. My great-grandparents, husband and wife, were buried next to each other. Now my grandfather's gone missing. From reports of those who knew him, neither the living nor his dead wife probably miss him much, but the principle of the thing still pisses me off.

    Thankfully, all my family since then have voted for cremation and being dumped in the Bay where future archaeologists won't find us. Even Dad.

  7. anti_tim says:

    Truth be told, that large mall in Emeryville is also on a tribal burial ground.

    --Which is one of the reasons there was such a delay in the building of it -- there had to be tribal members on site during construction.

    My girlfriend did some of the environmental auditing on the site when it was still being built, and you should have seen some of the bones they had to dig up and random containers of radioactive waste that was unburied.

    Makes you think twice about shopping at Old Navy. Err.

  8. ideaspace says:

    We still get to keep all our Mummies, right?

  9. dreamingkat says:

    I think perhaps what your missing is that it's really not about the value of the remains. It's about respect. If I go into your home, act like a total dick, find something and claim that it's important to me so you should let me have it, how likely are you to say "sure, go ahead!"

    If the contempt shown to AmerIndians were really over with the smallpox epidemics, you might have a leg to stand on. Maybe. But if you've paid taxes, you've paid for the forced sterilization of Native American women. It's well documented. Most of the documentation is for the 1970's, but there are reports of it being routine up through the 1990's, and possibly continuing into the present. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, but the information is out there, and I don't need to right a doctoral thesis in the comments of your journal.

    So, to reiterate the point: it's not about the value of the skeleton, it's about respect for people who are here now. And really, there is nothing that can be learned from any artifact that makes up for treating people like shit.

    • docorion says:

      Since when is it 'their home' any more than it's *my* home? I admit I have a fair amount of contempt for burial traditions generally (whose idea was burial, anyway? Reverence for ancestors is one thing, but why must they be tied to a specific place and specific remains? It's stone cold stupid, IMNSHO), but this one is over the top. There is almost no evidence that 9000 year-old-man is related to the AmerIndians *in any way*; the best available, although limited, evidence, points to other relations. So I'm with the 'to hell with 'em' camp. I have all due respect for the people who are here now; I demand equal respect for *my* traditions, which demand that science, real actual science, get equal time.
      Science 1, Foolishness 0.

      • dreamingkat says:

        Since when is it 'their home' any more than it's *my* home?
        I was under the erroneous impression that the bones were found on territory that historically belonged to a tribe. It was apparently found in a crossroads.
        If it had been historically one tribes homeland, it would be kinda like if you lived in a house from when you were 3 to when you were 6, and you lost a toy (lets say it's a plastic one so it was pretty intact) and the person who lived there after you moved out (lets not argue over how you moved out) found it when you were 10. If they knew that you had only moved across the street, and that the toy was most likely yours - after all, your family was the first to live in said house - wouldn't it just be polite to give the toy back? I mean, it might not actually be your toy - you might have had a friend come over and they might have lost their toy, but it just seems like the right thing to do to give it back.
        In this case it was found in a field between houses, and a group of kids said "hey, we were the only ones playing in that field. We're the only ones who ever played in that field. Give it to us and we'll sort out who it belongs to our way." And the grownups said "we don't care what you want. We think the toy is old enough to be valuable, so we're going to take it to an antique dealer. besides, we don't think your old enough to have played with this toy, and even if you are, we don't understand your way of knowing that the toy is yours, we want one of the people like us to tell us that the way we want to hear it."

        Reverence for ancestors is one thing, but why must they be tied to a specific place and specific remains?
        Some people think it needs to be, others disagree. I don't tell you that you have to put ketchup on your hot dog, and you shouldn't tell me I can't.

        there is almost no evidence that 9000 year-old-man is related to the AmerIndians *in any way*
        There is almost no evidence of the form that you accept. Despite the "facts" of the sort that you accept change every decade or so as "new evidence" appears. Which is frequently not new as in the newly discovered actual physical pieces being unique and distinctly different from previously found objects, but new as in a different way of thinking of what's in front of you. And these changes the result of social and political changes. Science does not transcend culture.

    • thealien says:

      Do you have any verifiable sources for our government forcibly sterilizing people right now?

      I'd like to make it an issue in upcoming political arguments. People being dragged off in the night to have their reproductive organs disabled would be very shocking and I'm sure fairly easy to prove.

      • dreamingkat says:

        It's not as dramatic as being "dragged off in the night".

        Girls who are 15 years old have been told that they're going to have their tonsils out and ended up with their ovaries removed. A woman who suffered from serious headaches was told that her pain was a form of PMS and a hysterectomy was the answer - she signed the consent forms and died of a brian tumor several years later. Women who visited hospitals due to difficult births were told while in labor that to remove the baby the whole uterus had to come out and asked if they consented to having their uterus removed. Women who needed cesarian sections were given tubal litigations or hysterectomies without being told and given the consent papers to sign as part of the check-out process. Women were told that having their tubes tied was a reversible procedure, and safer and more reliable than going on the pill.

        It's not as dramatic as alien abduction, but it's forced if a woman who clearly states that she wants to have children is given a procedure that will permanently prevent her from doing so, no matter what paper gets signed.

        In the last 1/2 hour I have been unable to find online versions of the masters and phd thesis that studied the forced/involuntary sterilization of american tribal women in the 1990s. Although I found references to several such theses existing. I found bunches of ones from the 1970s, and a few that went through the 1980s, but didn't save the urls since you wanted more recent data. It's hard to find published research that somehow managed to get published within months of the phenomena being studied. Since your unlikely to believe personal accounts, or mentions of the problem within speeches, I didn't bother searching for them. I also did not search for translations of the European news articles that I have seen referenced.

        Also, please note that the women that this is happening to frequently don't even have running water or electricity in their homes. Publishing their stories on the internet isn't likely to occur to them - especially since they could be shunned in their community if it became known that they could not have children. Sometimes they don't even know that they've been sterilized for years - until they go to a doctor and ask why they can't have children.

        It is shocking, and it's not easy to prove, but it has been proven. The proof just isn't easily accessible. And siting it is especially difficult considering I'm 1500 miles away from the library I did most of my research into history at and the majority of my personal book collection.

        • thealien says:

          Presuming that's true, something needs to be done. Even though I entertain ideas of requiring training before anyone is allowed to conceive, I am 100% opposed to anyone being betrayed by a physician. That simply isn't acceptable.

  10. loosechanj says:

    Kenniwick man is french, but spoke with an english accent?

  11. pinkpaluka says:

    Well well, another little ruckus on jwz's blog. And nobody even mentioned Israel! Although, truth be told, I mostly read the tail ends of threads...the parts that tend to end with "You suck!" and "Yeah, well you SMELL!", "Do not!", "Do too!"

    • jwz says:

      Seriously! Who knew that probably-not-indian skeletons were more controversial than jews!

      • kfringe says:

        Actively courting Godwin's Law will not help you here. It's like shouting Hitler in the hopes that the thread will end. It doesn't work the way you intend.

    • king_mob says:


      And nobody even mentioned Israel!


      And I played no part! If I were physically capable of experiencing shame, that's what I'd be experiencing right now.

  12. scosol says:

    The first "see also" link is interesting too:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3086777.stm

    I've always been bothered by the whole term "native american".
    Used how it is today, it doesnt mean "native" at all- it just means "we were here before the white people"-

    And the referenced genetic stuff seems to say that the amerindians really havent been here for *that* long, and quite probably were not the "first" humanids to reach the continent either.
    I don't really know what happened back when the european settlers arrived, but I don't think their mindset was one of "lets go find some dark-skins and wipe em out!"-
    I'm imagining that things started of congenial enough, but then for whatever reason relations broke down and well, superior technology won that battle.

    • macguyver says:

      It wasn't lets go find ... wipe em out, it was lets enslave and torture em, particularly for many of the arriving Europeans of the 15-16th centuries. The actions of Columbus and those in the Jamestown settlements are prime examples.

      You can read about it, with solid historical references, in Lies my Teacher Told Me.

      • dreamingkat says:

        looks like an interesting book - I added it to my wish list. :)

        I don't think the initial idea of the colonists was to wipe out people - but I have seen some pretty convincing evidence that the US government had a policy of genocide. I've got somewhere to be tonight, but tomorrow after I get done getting the references for forced/involuntary sterilization (previous thread under this topic), I'll just widen the search for genocide in general. :) Unfortunately, it'll be mostly websites cuz I'm now 1500 miles away from most of my books and from UCRs library. (I'm gonna miss having a university library right down the street.)

  13. kdarr says:

    Kennewick Man = Pete Postlethwait

    Uncanny.

    |< |>|

  14. retrodiva1 says:

    Shit he does look like Piccard doesn't he? I thought that before I read it. Does tend to make one believe in past lives. Either that or the sculptor's idea of a joke.

  15. midorigirl says:

    I think the biggest thing to point out is that during the time that this human lived, the people that were here in North America were extremely nomadic, especially up and down the Washington/Oregon/California coast line. It was too cold to settle down otherwise.
    Tribes didn't start settling the area until well after a specific volcanic eruption about 7600ybp. This skeleton is 9500-8500ybp; he could be from anywhere up and down the coast.
    To me there is no argument that this man is an ancestor of the people who would eventually come to live in North America, but he's too old to be claimed by anyone but science. Maybe the Ainu in Japan who show a distinct genetic relationship to Native Americans. But he's too old to do any DNA on. They've tried.
    There's also no way to make sure of anything now becuase his grave site was destroyed, along with anything that could have been a hint, shortly after his discovery by the Army Corps of Engineers...which is a whole other story that could incite further ranting/raving.
    I highly suggest that people read the reports from the Department of the Interior. All of the reports thus far are archived on a specific site: http://www.cr.nps.gov/aad/kennewick/index.htm
    As well as NAGPRA, the law currently being debated with Kennewick Man: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra/

    As an anthropologist it saddens me that people want to yank away potentially valuable scientific study material, but I do agree with the reason NAGPRA was created: To return all skeletal material dug up, in the archaeological boom of the 1900s, where "White Superiority" was the driving force. However this immediate demand and assumption is a bit knee jerk.

  16. Aww shit, how can he even be Indian with a name like "Kennewick?"