Monday, October 08, 2007

Senate Panel Revisits Kennewick Controversy, Sides with Tribes

Senate panel OKs bill that could return Kennewick Man to tribes

RICHLAND, Wash. -- A U.S. Senate committee has approved a bill that could allow American Indian tribes to claim the ancient bones of Kennewick Man, a 9,300-year-old skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996.

This is the third time a change has been proposed to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The change would ensure that federally recognized tribes could claim ancient remains even if a direct link to a tribe can't be proven.

The act governs the control of American Indian skeletons, requiring museums and federal agencies to return them to tribes if there is evidence that links the remains to the tribes.

This latest two-word addition tucked inside a bill to allow tribal participation in methamphetamine grants, among other things, would expand the definition of what remains are considered ancestral. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the bill last week.


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