Kennewick Man Essay

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Mid-summer of 1996 in Kennewick, Washington, two men stumbled upon an ancient human skeleton in the Columbian River. What seemed to be a miraculous discovery soon turned into an incessant and relentless battle over the ownership of the remains. “Multiple claimants asset[ed] ownership” of this skeleton, named the “Kennewick Man”: the Native Americans of Washington, Pacific Islanders, and even people of Norse descent of Ireland and Scotland. The debacle of whether the thousand-year-old skeleton should remain under scientific custody or return to its “native homeland” to be buried was debated in federal court for several years. The whole process of the Kennewick Man’s discovery opened important questions: Who is the Kennewick Man and why is he so important? Why…show more content…
Were these remains proof that the first settlers of North America weren’t in fact modern Native Americans? July 28, 1996 was any ordinary day for two men hiking in Columbia Park. However, it soon became one of the most influential days for science. Part of a human skull were found at the bottom of the Columbia river along with the rest of the skeleton just feet away. After some of the bone were sent to the laboratory, Archaeologists soon realized that this wasn’t any ordinary skeleton; it was one over 9,000 years old. This skeleton, named the “Kennewick Man” due to its location in Kennewick, Washington, was the oldest, most well-reserved skeleton found in North America. Shortly after the remains were unearthed, controversy and debate surrounded the home and origin of the skeleton. “Archaeologist Dr. James Chatters, working on contract with the Benton County coroner, thought that the bones might not be Native American.” If this were proven to be true, it would cause massive waves in what we thought we knew about our science and history. Initially classified as “Caucasoid”, Chatters modified his

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