Kennewick Man hearings

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Progressive Reaction is keeping on top of the shenanigans at the hearings to amend NAGPRA.

4 Comments

Could we use Associated Press style? “NAGPRA” is an acronym for what, again? Native American G_______ P_________ R(emains?)___________ Act?

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. I’ve added some explanatory links to the post for folks who aren’t familiar with the issues.

Thanks for the link, Tim. I hope I can persuade people to pop off a letter to their senators and/or the Senate Indian Affairs Committee re this obscure but disturbing amendment. (I even provide helpful tips for letter writing!)

Anthropologist John Hawks has posts on Kennewick man and this one on the pending legislation.

This is a difficult area. I have a fair amount of empathy for the native folks on most issues, including respectful return of tribal remains that were, in some cases, removed under the most egregious circumstances.

But remains that are clearly thousands of years old, not part of an established gravesite, nor culturally continuous with the native populations that resided in the area at contact…well, that’s a bit like the north Italian villagers getting up in arms over the disrespect shown to their “fellow” villager, the nine-thousand year old fellow who melted out of the glacier.

All remains of this kind–of whatever age and provenance–should be treated with respect, but respect can include appropriate scientific study of ancient, non-culturally-associated remains.

The Bush administration reportedly has now come out against the amendments to NAGPRA that would preclude appropriate study. A rare pro-science stance, perhaps, but a welcome one.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on July 29, 2005 12:30 AM.

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