The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets

Douglas Preston, Smithsonian Magazine, August 27, 2014

In the summer of 1996, two college students in Kennewick, Washington, stumbled on a human skull while wading in the shallows along the Columbia River. They called the police. The police brought in the Benton County coroner, Floyd Johnson, who was puzzled by the skull, and he in turn contacted James Chatters, a local archaeologist. Chatters and the coroner returned to the site and, in the dying light of evening, plucked almost an entire skeleton from the mud and sand. They carried the bones back to Chatters’ lab and spread them out on a table.

The skull, while clearly old, did not look Native American. At first glance, Chatters thought it might belong to an early pioneer or trapper. But the teeth were cavity-free (signaling a diet low in sugar and starch) and worn down to the roots–a combination characteristic of prehistoric teeth. Chatters then noted something embedded in the hipbone. It proved to be a stone spearpoint, which seemed to clinch that the remains were prehistoric. He sent a bone sample off for carbon dating. The results: It was more than 9,000 years old.

Thus began the saga of Kennewick Man, one of the oldest skeletons ever found in the Americas and an object of deep fascination from the moment it was discovered. It is among the most contested set of remains on the continents as well. Now, though, after two decades, the dappled, pale brown bones are at last about to come into sharp focus, thanks to a long-awaited, monumental scientific publication next month co-edited by the physical anthropologist Douglas Owsley, of the Smithsonian Institution. No fewer than 48 authors and another 17 researchers, photographers and editors contributed to the 680-page Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton (Texas A&M University Press), the most complete analysis of a Paleo-American skeleton ever done.

The book recounts the history of discovery, presents a complete inventory of the bones and explores every angle of what they may reveal. Three chapters are devoted to the teeth alone, and another to green stains thought to be left by algae. Together, the findings illuminate this mysterious man’s life and support an astounding new theory of the peopling of the Americas. If it weren’t for a harrowing round of panicky last-minute maneuvering worthy of a legal thriller, the remains might have been buried and lost to science forever.

The storm of controversy erupted when the Army Corps of Engineers, which managed the land where the bones had been found, learned of the radiocarbon date. The corps immediately claimed authority–officials there would make all decisions related to handling and access–and demanded that all scientific study cease. Floyd Johnson protested, saying that as county coroner he believed he had legal jurisdiction. The dispute escalated, and the bones were sealed in an evidence locker at the sheriff’s office pending a resolution.

“At that point,” Chatters recalled to me in a recent interview, “I knew trouble was coming.” It was then that he called Owsley, a curator at the National Museum of Natural History and a legend in the community of physical anthropologists. He has examined well over 10,000 sets of human remains during his long career. {snip} Owsley is also a specialist in ancient American remains.

“You can count on your fingers the number of ancient, well-preserved skeletons there are” in North America, he told me, remembering his excitement at first hearing from Chatters. Owsley and Dennis Stanford, at that time chairman of the Smithsonian’s anthropology department, decided to pull together a team to study the bones. But corps attorneys showed that federal law did, in fact, give them jurisdiction over the remains. So the corps seized the bones and locked them up at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, often called Battelle for the organization that operates the lab.

At the same time, a coalition of Columbia River Basin Indian tribes and bands claimed the skeleton under a 1990 law known as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA. The tribes demanded the bones for reburial. “Scientists have dug up and studied Native Americans for decades,” a spokesman for the Umatilla tribe, Armand Minthorn, wrote in 1996. “We view this practice as desecration of the body and a violation of our most deeply-held religious beliefs.” The remains, the tribe said, were those of a direct tribal ancestor. “From our oral histories, we know that our people have been part of this land since the beginning of time. We do not believe that our people migrated here from another continent, as the scientists do.” The coalition announced that as soon as the corps turned the skeleton over to them, they would bury it in a secret location where it would never be available to science. The corps made it clear that, after a month long public comment period, the tribal coalition would receive the bones.

{snip} The Smithsonian, under the National Museum of the American Indian Act, and other museums under NAGPRA, have returned (and continue to return) many thousands of remains to tribes. This is being done with the crucial help of anthropologists and archaeologists–including Owsley, who has been instrumental in repatriating remains from the Smithsonian’s collection. But in the case of Kennewick, Owsley argued, there was no evidence of a relationship with any existing tribes. The skeleton lacked physical features characteristic of Native Americans.

In the weeks after the Army engineers announced they would return Kennewick Man to the tribes, Owsley went to work. “I called and others called the corps. They would never return a phone call. I kept expressing an interest in the skeleton to study it–at our expense. All we needed was an afternoon.” Others contacted the corps, including members of Congress, saying the remains should be studied, if only briefly, before reburial. This was what NAGPRA in fact required: The remains had to be studied to determine affiliation. If the bones showed no affiliation with a present-day tribe, NAGPRA didn’t apply.

But the corps indicated it had made up its mind. Owsley began telephoning his colleagues. “I think they’re going to rebury this,” he said, “and if that happens, there’s no going back. It’s gone.”

So Owsley and several of his colleagues found an attorney, Alan Schneider. Schneider contacted the corps and was also rebuffed. Owsley suggested they file a lawsuit and get an injunction. Schneider warned him: “If you’re going to sue the government, you better be in it for the long haul.”

Owsley assembled a group of eight plaintiffs, prominent physical anthropologists and archaeologists connected to leading universities and museums. But no institution wanted anything to do with the lawsuit, which promised to attract negative attention and be hugely expensive. They would have to litigate as private citizens. “These were people,” Schneider said to me later, “who had to be strong enough to stand the heat, knowing that efforts might be made to destroy their careers. And efforts were made.”

When Owsley told his wife, Susan, that he was going to sue the government of the United States, her first response was: “Are we going to lose our home?” He said he didn’t know. “I just felt,” Owsley told me in a recent interview, “this was one of those extremely rare and important discoveries that come once in a lifetime. If we lost it”–he paused. “Unthinkable.”

Working like mad, Schneider and litigating partner Paula Barran filed a lawsuit. With literally hours to go, a judge ordered the corps to hold the bones until the case was resolved.

When word got out that the eight scientists had sued the government, criticism poured in, even from colleagues. The head of the Society for American Archaeology tried to get them to drop the lawsuit. Some felt it would interfere with the relationships they had built with Native American tribes. But the biggest threat came from the Justice Department itself. Its lawyers contacted the Smithsonian Institution warning that Owsley and Stanford might be violating “criminal conflict of interest statutes which prohibit employees of the United States” from making claims against the government.

“I operate on a philosophy,” Owsley told me, “that if they don’t like it, I’m sorry: I’m going to do what I believe in.” {snip} “The Justice Department squeezed us really, really hard,” Owsley recalled. But both anthropologists refused to withdraw, and the director of the National Museum of Natural History at the time, Robert W. Fri, strongly supported them even over the objections of the Smithsonian’s general counsel. The Justice Department backed off.

Owsley and his group were eventually forced to litigate not just against the corps, but also the Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior and a number of individual government officials. As scientists on modest salaries, they could not begin to afford the astronomical legal bills. Schneider and Barran agreed to work for free, with the faint hope that they might, someday, recover their fees. In order to do that they would have to win the case and prove the government had acted in “bad faith”–a nearly impossible hurdle. The lawsuit dragged on for years. “We never expected them to fight so hard,” Owsley says. Schneider says he once counted 93 government attorneys directly involved in the case or cc’ed on documents.

Meanwhile, the skeleton, which was being held in trust by the corps, first at Battelle and later at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington in Seattle, was badly mishandled and stored in “substandard, unsafe conditions,” according to the scientists. In the storage area where the bones were (and are) being kept at the Burke Museum, records show there have been wide swings in temperature and humidity that, the scientists say, have damaged the specimen. {snip}

Somewhere in the move to Battelle, large portions of both femurs disappeared. The FBI launched an investigation, focusing on James Chatters and Floyd Johnson. It even went so far as to give Johnson a lie detector test; after several hours of accusatory questioning, Johnson, disgusted, pulled off the wires and walked out. Years later, the femur bones were found in the county coroner’s office. The mystery of how they got there has never been solved.

The scientists asked the corps for permission to examine the stratigraphy of the site where the skeleton had been found and to look for grave goods. Even as Congress was readying a bill to require the corps to preserve the site, the corps dumped a million pounds of rock and fill over the area for erosion control, ending any chance of research.

I asked Schneider why the corps so adamantly resisted the scientists. He speculated that the corps was involved in tense negotiations with the tribes over a number of thorny issues, including salmon fishing rights along the Columbia River, the tribes’ demand that the corps remove dams and the ongoing, hundred-billion-dollar cleanup of the vastly polluted Hanford nuclear site. Schneider says that a corps archaeologist told him “they weren’t going to let a bag of old bones get in the way of resolving other issues with the tribes.”

Asked about its actions in the Kennewick Man case, the corps told Smithsonian: “The United States acted in accordance with its interpretation of NAGPRA and its concerns about the safety and security of the fragile, ancient human remains.”

Ultimately, the scientists won the lawsuit. The court ruled in 2002 that the bones were not related to any living tribe: thus NAGPRA did not apply. The judge ordered the corps to make the specimen available to the plaintiffs for study. The government appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which in 2004 again ruled resoundingly in favor of the scientists, writing:

because Kennewick Man’s remains are so old and the information about his era is so limited, the record does not permit the Secretary [of the Interior] to conclude reasonably that Kennewick Man shares special and significant genetic or cultural features with presently existing indigenous tribes, people, or cultures.

During the trial, the presiding magistrate judge, John Jelderks, had noted for the record that the corps on multiple occasions misled or deceived the court. He found that the government had indeed acted in “bad faith” and awarded attorney’s fees of $2,379,000 to Schneider and his team.

“At the bare minimum,” Schneider told me, “this lawsuit cost the taxpayers $5 million.”

Owsley and the collaborating scientists presented a plan of study to the corps, which was approved after several years. And so, almost ten years after the skeleton was found, the scientists were given 16 days to examine it. They did so in July of 2005 and February of 2006.

From these studies, presented in superabundant detail in the new book, we now have an idea who Kennewick Man was, how he lived, what he did and where he traveled. We know how he was buried and then came to light. Kennewick Man, Owsley believes, belongs to an ancient population of seafarers who were America’s original settlers. They did not look like Native Americans. The few remains we have of these early people show they had longer, narrower skulls with smaller faces. These mysterious people have long since disappeared.

{snip}

A vast amount of data was collected in the 16 days Owsley and colleagues spent with the bones. Twenty-two scientists scrutinized the almost 300 bones and fragments. Led by Kari Bruwelheide, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian, they first reassembled the fragile skeleton so they could see it as a whole. They built a shallow box, added a layer of fine sand, and covered that with black velvet; then Bruwelheide laid out the skeleton, bone by bone, shaping the sand underneath to cradle each piece. Now the researchers could address such questions as Kennewick Man’s age, height, weight, body build, general health and fitness, and injuries. They could also tell whether he was deliberately buried, and if so, the position of his body in the grave.

Next the skeleton was taken apart, and certain key bones studied intensively. The limb bones and ribs were CT-scanned at the University of Washington Medical Center. These scans used far more radiation than would be safe for living tissue, and as a result they produced detailed, three-dimensional images that allowed the bones to be digitally sliced up any which way. With additional CT scans, the team members built resin models of the skull and other important bones. They made a replica from a scan of the spearpoint in the hip.

As work progressed, a portrait of Kennewick Man emerged. He does not belong to any living human population. Who, then, are his closest living relatives? Judging from the shape of his skull and bones, his closest living relatives appear to be the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands, a remote archipelago 420 miles southeast of New Zealand, as well as the mysterious Ainu people of Japan.

“Just think of Polynesians,” said Owsley.

Not that Kennewick Man himself was Polynesian. This is not Kon-Tiki in reverse; humans had not reached the Pacific Islands in his time period. Rather, he was descended from the same group of people who would later spread out over the Pacific and give rise to modern-day Polynesians. These people were maritime hunter-gatherers of the north Pacific coast; among them were the ancient Jōmon, the original inhabitants of the Japanese Islands. The present-day Ainu people of Japan are thought to be descendants of the Jōmon. Nineteenth-century photographs of the Ainu show individuals with light skin, heavy beards and sometimes light-colored eyes.

Jōmon culture first arose in Japan at least 12,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 16,000 years ago, when the landmasses were still connected to the mainland. These seafarers built boats out of sewn planks of wood. Outstanding mariners and deep-water fishermen, they were among the first people to make fired pottery.

The discovery of Kennewick Man adds a major piece of evidence to an alternative view of the peopling of North America. It, along with other evidence, suggests that the Jōmon or related peoples were the original settlers of the New World. If correct, the conclusion upends the traditional view that the first Americans came through central Asia and walked across the Bering Land Bridge and down through an ice-free corridor into North America.

Sometime around 15,000 years ago, the new theory goes, coastal Asian groups began working their way along the shoreline of ancient Beringia–the sea was much lower then–from Japan and Kamchatka Peninsula to Alaska and beyond. {snip}

“I believe these Asian coastal migrations were the first,” said Owsley. “Then you’ve got a later wave of the people who give rise to Indians as we know them today.”

What became of those pioneers, Kennewick Man’s ancestors and companions? They were genetically swamped by much larger–and later–waves of travelers from Asia and disappeared as a physically distinct people, Owsley says. These later waves may have interbred with the first settlers, diluting their genetic legacy. A trace of their DNA still can be detected in some Native American groups, though the signal is too weak to label the Native Americans “descendants.”

Whether this new account of the peopling of North America will stand up as more evidence comes in is not yet known. The bones of a 13,000-year-old teenage girl recently discovered in an underwater cave in Mexico, for example, are adding to the discussion. James Chatters, the first archaeologist to study Kennewick and a participant in the full analysis, reported earlier this year, along with colleagues, that the girl’s skull appears to have features in common with that of Kennewick Man and other Paleo-Americans, but she also possesses specific DNA signatures suggesting she shares female ancestry with Native Americans.

Kennewick Man may still hold a key. The first effort to extract DNA from fragments of his bone failed, and the corps so far hasn’t allowed a better sample to be taken. A second effort to plumb the old fragments is underway at a laboratory in Denmark.

{snip}

There’s a wonderful term used by anthropologists: “osteobiography,” the “biography of the bones.” Kennewick Man’s osteobiography tells a tale of an eventful life, which a newer radiocarbon analysis puts at having taken place 8,900 to 9,000 years ago. He was a stocky, muscular man about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds. He was right-handed. His age at death was around 40.

Anthropologists can tell from looking at bones what muscles a person used most, because muscle attachments leave marks in the bones: The more stressed the muscle, the more pronounced the mark. For example, Kennewick Man’s right arm and shoulder look a lot like a baseball pitcher’s. He spent a lot of time throwing something with his right hand, elbow bent–no doubt a spear. Kennewick Man once threw so hard, Owsley says, he fractured his glenoid rim–the socket of his shoulder joint. {snip}

{snip}

Many years before Kennewick Man’s death, a heavy blow to his chest broke six ribs. Because he used his right hand to throw spears, five broken ribs on his right side never knitted together. This man was one tough dude.

The scientists also found two small depression fractures on his cranium, one on his forehead and the other farther back. These dents occur on about half of all ancient American skulls; what caused them is a mystery. They may have come from fights involving rock throwing, or possibly accidents involving the whirling of a bola. This ancient weapon consisted of two or more stones connected by a cord, which were whirled above the head and thrown at birds to entangle them. If you don’t swing a bola just right, the stones can whip around and smack you. Perhaps a youthful Kennewick Man learned how to toss a bola the hard way.

The most intriguing injury is the spearpoint buried in his hip. He was lucky: The spear, apparently thrown from a distance, barely missed the abdominal cavity, which would have caused a fatal wound. It struck him at a downward arc of 29 degrees. Given the bone growth around the embedded point, the injury occurred when he was between 15 and 20 years old, and he probably would not have survived if he had been left alone; the researchers conclude that Kennewick Man must have been with people who cared about him enough to feed and nurse him back to health. The injury healed well and any limp disappeared over time, as evidenced by the symmetry of his gluteal muscle attachments. {snip}

Much to the scientists’ dismay, the corps would not allow the stone to be analyzed, which might reveal where it was quarried. “If we knew where that stone came from,” said Stanford, the Smithsonian anthropologist, “we’d have a pretty good idea of where that guy was when he was a young man.” {snip}

{snip}

The most poignant outcome? The researchers brought Kennewick Man’s features back to life. This process is nothing like the computerized restoration seen in the television show Bones. To turn a skull into a face is a time-consuming, handcrafted procedure, a marriage of science and art. Skeletal anatomists, modelmakers, forensic and figurative sculptors, a photographic researcher and a painter toiled many months to do it.

{snip}

The naked clay head was then taken to StudioEIS in Brooklyn, which specializes in reconstructions for museums. There, sculptors aged his face, adding wrinkles and a touch of weathering, and put in the scar from the forehead injury. Using historic photographs of Ainu and Polynesians as a reference, they sculpted the fine, soft-tissue details of the lips, nose and eyes, and gave him a facial expression–a resolute, purposeful gaze consistent with his osteobiography as a hunter, fisherman and long-distance traveler. They added a beard like those commonly found among the Ainu. As for skin tone, a warm brown was chosen, to account for his natural color deepened by the harsh effects of a life lived outdoors. To prevent too much artistic license from creeping into the reconstruction, every stage of the work was reviewed and critiqued by physical anthropologists.

Kennewick Man reconstruction

Kennewick Man reconstruction

{snip}

Today, the bones remain in storage at the Burke Museum, and the tribes continue to believe that Kennewick Man is their ancestor. They want the remains back for reburial. The corps, which still controls the skeleton, denied Owsley’s request to conduct numerous tests, including a histological examination of thin, stained sections of bone to help fix Kennewick Man’s age. Chemical analyses on a lone tooth would enable the scientists to narrow the search for his homeland by identifying what he ate and drank as a child. A tooth would also be a good source of DNA. Biomolecular science is advancing so rapidly that within five to ten years it may be possible to know what diseases Kennewick Man suffered from and what caused his death.

{snip}

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  • MekongDelta69

    I am so sick of this idiotic term, “Native American.”

    Indians were nothing more than Mongoloids who came across the Bering Sea when it was a land bridge.

    • Tarczan

      Yup, it makes us, the white people seem illegitimate.

    • JohnEngelman

      American Indians have the right to complain about genocide and race displacement. White’s do not.

      • M.

        If American Indians have the right to complain about that, then so do whites. European-Americans have the right not to be replaced in the country they founded and built.

        And these new findings about that race of people that were invaded and overwhelmed by Amerindians gives them even less the right to complain about that.

        • Bossman

          I’ve a picture of Kennewick man as the artists paint him. He could be half Caucasian and half Native American. Human races do change over time.

          • M.

            But the article states that he’s genetically distinguishible from both American Indians and Europeans.

          • Jesse_from_Sweden

            Ah yes…but the most important word there is “as the artists paint him”.

            This sculpture were made under strict scrutiny of the involved scientists through all the steps of it’s creation.
            I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the same isn’t true for your artist.

        • Chip Carver

          Why argue with one of “their” agents? Especially if being a perpetual college student well into six decades of life is in fact true.

          The “reconstruction” was likely produced in a fashion that would make the mystery man as PC as possible in terms of looks. The hasbarat trolls know this.

      • MekongDelta69

        I’m looking for the “/sarc” at the end of your post.

        It must be missing…

      • APaige

        Genocide was a term first invented in the early 1940s and first used to describe what the Turks did to the Armenians in about 1914-1915. The deliberate attempt to wipe out an entire, different ethnic group. Most of the ‘Indians’ or indigenous groups were killed by disease. Would you considered the ‘Black Death’ from Asia (you getting excited?) an act of genocide?
        No White replacement? Detroit? And the Turks again in Constantinople? Ferguson, MO, etc.

      • Tarczan

        What happened to the Mound people? Can they complain about being eliminated by the other tribes?

        • bilderbuster

          What about the copper and ore mines in Michigan.
          The North American Redskins had no use for that?

          • Et In Arcadia Ego

            Isle Royale. Very interesting site there.

      • RealisticGuy

        In the America’s only, John, or in Europe too?

        • JohnEngelman

          i do not think Europe or any white country should admit the immigration of blacks, Arabs, or Pakistanis.

          • RealisticGuy

            But East Asians and Jews are alright, even if Europeans would be displaced in their European homelands?

          • Who Me?

            John, every time I think you might have a little sense, you post something like this, and I have to revise my ideas about you.

          • Chip Carver

            Non-whites should be kept at a minimum, and any and all groups from the “Middle East” or who claim to originate from that region should never be allowed into White countries. If things continue the way they are going, I do have an optimistic view that Europe will correct things and clean out the interlopers. The US is headed toward a total crash, it will be interesting to say the least. The hasbarats and useful idiots who don’t make it out will rue the day as the expression goes.

      • OS-Q

        Would they have the right to complain about being race-replaced in their reservations by other nonwhites?

      • Paul

        Have you still got nowhere else to go John?,Except to bother the good white people of this site? White Christians were genocided and displaced in the holomodor. By some of your ancestors. Got it?

      • Gary John 金白龍

        Up until 1967 the USA was traditionally a nation of immigrants, mainly WHITE immigrants.

        The USA was FOUNDED and BUILT by Whites. Non-Whites ADDED to it. (And not a lot at that.)

        (Since recorded history, Blacks have not built and maintained their own 1st world nation. Picking cotton does not build 1st world nations).

        AND… if for example, Blacks had founded and built the USA, would they allow themselves to become a minority without putting up a fight? Duh! NOPE!

        – Only 2% of Whites owned slaves. Also, Blacks enslaved their own long before Whitey came along.

        – The Founding Fathers were White.

        – The Constitution was written by Whites.

        – The Declaration of Independence was written and signed by Whites.

        – Most people that have fought and died for the US were White.

        – Institutions were built by Whites.

        – White ancestors did not work hard to build a 1st world nation to give it away to other races to turn it into a 3rd world nation.

        Whites have brought freedom of speech and democratic values and freed slaves wherever they go, prevented tribal wars between natives, cured diseases through medicine, as well as raise living standards of ALL races. However, Whites’ efforts at civilizing the globe have led to their own nation’s dysgenic destruction and demise.

        Upshot: Wherever Whites go, they improve upon their previous lives through their own efforts. Non-Whites come along and take advantage of White people’s efforts and excessive altruism.

        Israel for the Palestinians, Englestein?

        • AndrewInterrupted

          Non-whites took from it–and continue to.

          • Guest

            If you are White, why would you care? No other race would.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        You are right again breed. White have no right to complain about blacks, Asians, and Muslims invading Europe and exterminating the white race.

      • WR_the_realist

        American Indians have the right to complain about genocide and race displacement. So do whites. I think the late David Yeagley would have agreed with me.

      • benvad

        Wait around thirty years then we’ll see about that statement.

      • BillMillerTime

        “Genocide”? 95% of them succumbed to disease.

        Europeans were met with hostility from the nomadic Stone Age aboriginals as soon as they stepped off the boat. Read Captured By The Indians: 15 Firsthand Accounts, 1750-1870 and A Fate Worse Than Death: Indian Captivities in the West, 1830-1885.

        There was indeed a struggle for the land, and the Europeans won.

        We didn’t “steal” America; we built it.

      • dmxinc

        Is that what you say to the original inhabitants of what is now Turkey?

        Or does your standard only apply to non-Whites?

        John, you seem a bit schizophrenic. Some of your posts suit this site, others are way out in left field. Literally, left field.

        • JohnEngelman

          Does one have to sign a creed before one is allowed to post here? I hadn’t noticed.

          • dmxinc

            No. Just looking for a little consistency of thought.

          • RealisticGuy

            Don’t look for consistency in Engelman. That man’s mind is a bag of cats.

          • The Worlds Scapegoat

            He is consistent at being inconsistent.

            .

          • Chip Carver

            You won’t find that with the useful idiots. If they can’t finish college inside 30 years, why would you expect cogent arguments? It’s always the same lies, hit and run, to try and make visitors think that what they post are facts. Same tactics over and over.

          • JohnEngelman

            How are my opinions inconsistent?

            I am a consistent race realist. Race realism is not the same as white supremacy, or even white nationalism.

          • Augustus3709

            Yeah but if it weren’t for White nations and White genius we wouldn’t have been able to travel the globe and study race and DNA with White inventions such as the Electron Microscope.

            Believing in race and acknowledging White genius go hand in hand.

        • M.

          Just curious, who were the original inhabitants of Turkey?

      • gregCall

        Do the Canaanites have a right to complain about genocide and displacement?
        Oh that’s right there are no descendants.

        “thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them”
        (Deuteronomy 7;1,2). Again, in the book of Deuteronomy we read, “But of
        the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for
        an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou
        shalt utterly destroy them”

        Just another genocide carried out by the “chosen”.

        For that matter, what about the Palestinians?

      • gregCall

        And Palestinians do and Jews do not.

    • Mason Gull

      I personally prefer the term “American Indian,” but it is true that they were living in the Americas long before Europeans.

      • bilderbuster

        I prefer to keep it simple and just use the term Redskins.
        No one ever gets confused about who I might be referring to.

        • Tim_in_Indiana

          You could be referring to the football team.

          • bilderbuster

            Maybe not for long.
            They’re mostly Black skinned even if they have a logo of a Redskin.

      • Augustus3709

        I’ve been toying with the term “Asian Migrants”, but I dunno. The truth is there is no good term for the Amerindians.

        Native American is wrong, and Indian is wrong.

        “First Nations” or whatever term they use in Canada is also silly.

        The “Red Race” could work, but the south American Indians are more brownish-yellow.

        You could also name them tribe by tribe, but that would perhaps be overly specific.

        • BillMillerTime

          Aborigines.

    • I think Native is a term interchangeable with the notion of who set foot on the soil first. While most were clearly Mongoloids, European mitochondrial DNA has been found in Amerindians. And we’re talking about those with no previous admixture or contact with Europeans.

      • M.

        Well, according to that article, those might the remains of that Ainu-like race of people that were there first.

    • Bossman

      Okay, but they preceded your white ancestors by thousands of years and that should count for something.

      • MekongDelta69

        Oh good – it’s Mr. Bossman! What’s up?!

        So, what should ‘that’ count for?

        Let me see – for how many tens of thousands of years have ‘tribes’ of people been conquering other ‘tribes’ of people all over the globe?

        To the winner go the spoils.
        We won, they lost. (Veni, vidi, vici)
        First world > Third world.

        Leftists are not winners – they are whiners.

        Were you around 5-10-20-50-100K years ago? Did you hang out with the inhabitants who roamed through the jungles of DIE-Troit during that time period? Maybe T-Rex should be called “Native-Americans”?! Are you the guy who predicted the end of South Korea in 750 years?! (see yesterday)

        • tetrapod

          Nice reductio ad absurdum, which brings to mind the terrible asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and paved the way for white devil Homo sapiens. Asteroids be rayciss. Somebody tell Al and Jesse.

      • Fair Dinkum

        Why?

      • AndrewInterrupted

        No, the Solutreans of Europe (modern day France) crossed into North America 10,000 years before that. And the Neanderthals before that.
        It’s all in here.
        .

    • tetrapod

      Say what you will, but it’s less idiotic that the term “Indian”, which derives from a glaring historical error. It seems especially idiotic if you ever have to refer to them as Indians when speaking with natives of India.

      • Paleoconn

        The term Indian, though a mistake, is one that has been used since Whitey made contact. No point in changing it to suit the PC agenda.

        • tetrapod

          I don’t see “Native American” as a necessarily PC term. To me it’s simply more accurate than “Indian”.

          That said, I strongly identify with paleo-conservatives, and despise political correctness.

          • bilderbuster

            Feathered Indians vs. Dotted Indians.

      • SoulInvictus

        How about …Americans. Southerners didn’t get weird quasi-independent nation reservations for losing a war and mass slaughter. Or a specialized designation. They should be called either whatever tribe they descend from…like Irish, or Americans, and all the little special treatments and exceptions eliminated.
        They lost a war with the Feds, haven’t we all basically?
        Tough beans, join the club.

      • Guest

        Well we can’t exactly call them what they actually are: temporary migratory colonizers of a landmass later supplanted by people who could invent the wheel and antibiotics.

        Might wreak hell with the flow of taxpayer dollars into their wampum sacks.

      • Tim_in_Indiana

        How about “Amerinds?” That seems to solve the problem nicely.

    • Pro_Whitey

      I call them earlier immigrants. To call them native is Eurocentric, because it is only from the perspective of 15th and 16th century European settlers that they Indians were always here. Because of their often violent resistance to white settlement, I also call them the First Nativists.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    A very interesting article. Highly worth reading the whole thing.

    Just goes to show it’s the left wing that are the true enemies of scientific progress.

    • bilderbuster

      That’s why the Feds grabbed the remains and they along with the “Native Americans” were going to make them disappear and why the site was so quickly destroyed.
      Too much has been invested in the “Native American” myth to have a pesky thing like science ruin that.

  • Man of the West

    I’m Native American. Born here. So were my people who came here from the British Isles. All of their descendants were Native Americans. Been the case since the 1700s. Show me anywhere in the world that is still inhabited by the aboriginal population. How do these people the the Indians got the land. By pushing someone off of it. Jeez! That’s how everyone in the world got their land. Now we have Central Americans taking it from us. Nif they win, and I hope they don’t, they will be Native Americans. This is not hard.

  • M.

    So the Native Americans were probably another race of people whom the American Indians invaded and overwhelmed into extinction. This should make the guilt-ridden European-American (liberals) today feel a little less guilty.

  • ZB01

    Good news! The next time some stupid (fill in the blank) states, “hey, go back to your own country”…you can say: Well, I’m already here, my “friend”!

  • 1G25

    The Corps of Engineers must attract the freaks of the Army. Their attitudes in this case are parallel to countless other intimidating, unnecessary decisions involving private citizens.

    • Who Me?

      At least the ones around here are.

  • 1G25

    Columbus carried a passport in Latin from the Spanish monarchs that dispatched him ad partes Indie[3] (“toward the regions of India”) on their behalf. When he landed in the Antilles, Columbus referred to the resident peoples he encountered there as “Indians” in the mistaken belief that he had reached the Indian Ocean.[4] Although Columbus’ mistake was soon recognized, the name stuck; for centuries the native people of the Americas were collectively called “Indians.” This misnomer was perpetuated in place naming; the islands of the Caribbean were named, and are still known as, the West Indies.

    Source: Wikipedia

    • Bossman

      Okay, so what is your point? How about calling them the First Americans or First Nations people?

      • Jerrybear

        They weren’t Americans and were not a nation.

      • bilderbuster

        How about American Abos?

        • seapeaMP

          (A)merican (A)bos – AA. I like it!

          Did you see all those AA’s at the AA meeting? Neither did I.


          “DIVERSITY” is a code word for WHITE GENOCIDE

      • BillMillerTime

        The correct term would be “North American aboriginals.”

      • IBWHITE

        How about previous tenant’s.

        • SoulInvictus

          But that violates the ideal that inhabitants have some sort of claim and right to preserve their culture. You know, unless you’re white…

          • IBWHITE

            “Leftist thought truly is mental illness, a parasitical infection of goodhearted altruism.”
            And apparently contagious.

      • bilderbuster

        Or just plain Redskins?

  • dd121

    And the Indians have deeply held religious, blah blah blah. It’s unlikely that those bones belong closely to any living Indian group in that area. Muslims don’t like bacon either. So what?

    • Augustus3709

      When White people have deeply held religious beliefs it is because they are backward and ignorant and must be educated.

      When non-Whites have deep religious beliefs it is part of their noble and beautiful culture which must be protected and promoted at all costs.

      See the biased anti-White hatred here?

  • IKUredux

    It is pointless to discuss historical occupations of land. None of it matters anymore, as has been made clear by TBTB. We are all “global” citizens, regardless of how we feel. And, of course, by “we”, I mean White people. Because it is only our countries where TPTB insist we embrace losers from around the world and accept them into our White bosoms. And, then hopefully suckle the mess created by miscegenation with Whites at the aforementioned “White bosoms”. The goal, is of course, to remove the much admired White bosom from the face of the earth. It is obvious to anyone that a world without Whites, will become Shangri-La. Oh, wait, shoot, we Whites invented Shangri-La as well. Well, then, the earth will become whatever the word for “paradise” is, in Swahili. They do have a word for paradise in Swahili, don’t they? Anyway, as far as occupying a land mass goes: It has become a game of musical chairs. Oh jeez, did I use a White cultural reference? Wait, we Whites have no culture. I’m sure the first game of musical chairs was played by the chinese? indians? africans? Could someone enlighten me, please. Because I know it couldn’t have been us that invented this game. Or, you know, musical notation, and the scales and all of pretty much the instruments. (And, if we did? Shoot, we were just lucky).

  • Dagworthy

    The facts of Kennewick Man’s origin are important. What is just as important is the process by which the Clinton administration did all it could to destroy any knowledge of this major archaeological find. The skeleton was within days of being turned over to local activists for burial when the Court stopped the transfer.. Before the archaeologists could examine the site where the skeleton was found, perhaps to discover more skeletons and artifacts, the Corps of Engineers, on orders from the White House, deliberately destroyed the site by piling rocks over the entire area. The scientists who sued privately risked and perhaps ruined their careers. The lawyers who took the case without a fee were courageous, and only won $2.3 million fees when they showed deliberate and willful concealment and lying by the government. All together, the taxpayers paid $5 million. To this day, the Corps won’t let the only tooth be examined. Why won’t they release the skeleton if it doesn’t belong to a particular tribe? Because progressives are the enemy of knowledge.

    • journey

      According to this article, the corps did not want the skeleton remains to interfere with the unresolved issues they were having with the Indian tribes. Guess to the practical corps, it’s just some dead bones and why all the fuss?

    • AndrewInterrupted

      The real scandals happened in digs during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

  • journey

    The Kennewick Man reconstruction looks like an Eskimo of which the red man had contact with after crossing the Bering Strait some 85,000 thousand years ago.

    • bilderbuster

      The original one looked just like British actor Patrick Stewart who played Capt. Picard on Star Trek, and no, I’m not a Trekkie.

      • journey

        I would rather go with the latest one, more reality related. The first one, they were overplaying their hand to get those bones.

        • bilderbuster

          And you know this how?
          The new one has facial hair and has tan skin and could be a PC combination of all the races.

          • journey

            They should first compare the DNA of the Eskimos to the skeleton remains if it ever get that far. Don’t forget, Alaska is not that far from the discovery location.

            The first rendition was to make the skeleton appear “white” so as to not give them to the Indians which is a safe assumption.

  • italian guy

    “A trace of their DNA still can be detected in some Native American
    groups, though the signal is too weak to label the Native Americans
    “descendants.”
    So, does this mean the so called natives caused a genocide and absorbed these individuals in their genetic makeup?
    I wonder if the Kennewick Man and the Ainu are related to Europeans though.

  • Lynn Munoz

    Agree with Dagwothy’s assessment. I’ve been following this case from its inception (anthropology major in college). The tribe that first contested this actually broke into the area where the bones were stored and used them for rituals, so it may never be known if any of the bones were subsequently damaged or missing. Bless the courage of all those who risked their jobs, and more, to challenge the pinheads. I can’t help but shudder when I think of what was so close to being lost forever. As it is, more lawsuits might have to be brought to study the tooth and the stone embedded in KM’s hip. (bring it on! I’d donate toward legal funds). I’ve never seen such an example of sheer stupidity on the part of those who sought to “reappropriate” remains not proven to be in any human population’s direct line. And I mean every consonant/vowel of stupidity..

    • AndrewInterrupted

      Still seems likely they are indeed Ainu.

  • LHathaway

    Hoax. . . . First big foot, now something else

    • AndrewInterrupted

      It’s real. It’s a conundrum for the Siberian group, though. They are considered separate, different. Causes problems. That is why NAGPRA was created. It was a proactive attempt at eliminating these types of inconvenient truths.

  • Anglo

    What a coincident that this article is posted on AmRen since I was reading this very article today in my September issue of The Smithsonian. I hope the Army Corps of Engineers (still controlling the skeleton) will soon allow a DNA analysis of the tooth. I’m very interested in learning what the final analysis is of Kennewick Man.

  • none of your business

    I have been to Hawaii several times and living in California have seen many E. Asians ranging from Irish White Koreans to tan Cambodians and dark tan Filipinos. But I have never seen any Asian or Polynesian with brown skin. The darkest are the pure Filipinos.
    None have brown skin. If he lived in E. Washington state he was not exposed to much sun.

    • seapeaMP

      I’m not sure what the climate was like 9,000 yrs ago but if it was like present day eastern Washington, it got lots of sun. That side of the state is largely desert, even around the Tri-cities / Kennewick. It’s the western side of the state that doesn’t get the sunshine.


      “DIVERSITY” isn’t just a feel-good buzzword, it’s genocide

  • IstvanIN

    While the study of the past is fascinating and exciting, it shouldn’t determine the fate of the people who live here now. The past is done. The whole your grandfather hit my grandfather so I get to hit you is crap. Learn from the past but live in the present. We need to protect what belongs to us and not allow it to be given away. At least the American Indians fought back. They lost but they went down with a fight. We are just as disunited as the Indian tribes were and don’t even bother to fight back.

    • tetrapod

      If current trends continue we’ll be as contemptible as the Jews who willfully and obediently boarded the trains for Auschwitz.

      • kjh64

        They didn’t willfully board the trains, they were forced at gunpoint.

      • bilderbuster

        What happened to the gas chambers?
        Auschwitz had execution trenches?
        Then where are the mass graves at Auschwitz?

      • bilderbuster

        Speaking of which.
        I’ll bet that site will never be excavated.

  • The corps immediately claimed authority … and demanded that all scientific study cease. … ‘I knew trouble was coming.’ … Owsley assembled a group of eight plaintiffs, prominent physical anthropologists and archaeologists connected to leading universities and museums. But no institution wanted anything to do with the lawsuit, which promised to attract negative attention and be hugely expensive. They would have to litigate as private citizens. ‘These were people,’ Schneider said to me later, ‘who had to be strong enough to stand the heat, knowing that efforts might be made to destroy their careers. And efforts were made.’ … biggest threat came from the Justice Department itself. … 93 government attorneys directly involved in the case or cc’ed on documents. … Even as Congress was readying a bill to require the corps to preserve the site, the corps dumped a million pounds of rock and fill over the area for erosion control, ending any chance of research. … judge, John Jelderks, had noted for the record that the corps on multiple occasions misled or deceived the court. … The first effort to extract DNA from fragments of his bone failed, and the corps so far hasn’t allowed a better sample to be taken. … Much to the scientists’ dismay, the corps would not allow the stone to be analyzed, which might reveal where it was quarried. … The corps, which still controls the skeleton, denied Owsley’s request to conduct numerous tests, including a histological examination of thin, stained sections of bone to help fix Kennewick Man’s age. …

    At least three positives: (1) The heroic efforts of these scientists and those who aided them; (2) What has been learned and will be learned from Kennewick Man; (3) A beautifully perfect Type-A museum specimen of our Occupation Government relentlessly grinding away at its evil machinations, and in an area that is highly symbolic.

    One aspect that has been removed from the current account, or at least the part that I recently read, is that some local experts who first examined the remains flat-out said that the bones were that of a white man (the first clay modeling looked a lot like actor Patrick Stewart). I believe this was probably what initially put the fear of God into our intolerant Tolerance Police. Since whites cruelly taking America away from today’s noble Native Americans, the original inhabitants, is almost up there with the Martin Luther King Narrative. Imagine one skeleton find that could upturn all that wonderful white guilt and the booming Anti-White Grievance Industry. It is reminiscent of Charton Heston in ‘Planet of the Apes’ trying to prove he was not an ignorant lowly worthless savage by tossing a paper airplane across the room, to be quickly crumpled up and hidden by the fictional Army Corps of Engineers-like ape.

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    I notice in the picture above they gave him brown skin. At least they gave him a beard which is something that west coast Indians don’t have.

    .

  • Bill Moore

    Hello,

    What a wonderful description of a mystery story.

    Why would the US government try to stop the investigation?

    Dumping millions of tons of rocks onto an archeological site to prevent the learning that could happen.

    Washington DC is a full of despicable people, and should be demolished.

    Thank you for letting me rant,
    Bill Moore

    • AndrewInterrupted

      The investigation may have uncovered Polynesian/Ainu genocide at the hands of the Siberian group.

  • benvad

    Very true, wandering nomads killing each other for resources.

  • AndrewInterrupted

    The creation of NAGPRA was for the sole purpose of suppressing evidence of North America’s true first inhabitants–>Neanderthals–>Europeans. It is our AZTLAN.

    And guess who fell for NAGPRA?

    Our favorite doddering fool, John “Never trust a fart” McCain.
    .

    • JohnEngelman

      Kennewick Man looks more Caucasian than Mongoloid. Nevertheless, he is believed to be racially related to the Ainu in Japan. Human remains that appear to be European are probably still from Asia.

      • AndrewInterrupted

        This particular find is going to be ceded to the Polynesians, the Ainu. That is actually a can of worms for the Siberian tribes. Different group.

        The Polynesians may have to sue the Siberian group for Polynesian genocide. And I want to watch.

        Older finds, such as Snowmass, Colorado, suggest Neanderthals. That’s European. And only the oldest finds matter. This is also covered in Dennis Stanford’s book, Across Atlantic Ice.

    • Olorin

      There were a bunch of us back in the day who said this about NAGPRA. The Clinton Administration was surely hearing the same science we were, and seeing the same artifacts, and forming testable hypotheses likely to lead to the conclusion you note.

      Most open minded anthros of my acquaintance believed that future (today’s) genetic technologies would reveal that the first inhabitants of North America were the “Asianesian” sea people who interbred with Indo Europeans to produce modern Europeans. In any event, whites. And then there was the whole issue about how many human remains buried as “native American” were in fact of Scandinavian/Viking or Fenno-Scandian/Finno-Ugric origin.

      http://www.friendsofpast.org/
      http://www.friendsofpast.org/nagpra/news.html

      See esp. this, from 15 years ago:
      http://www.friendsofpast.org/nagpra/statement-emca.html

  • Bossman

    Are your readers and the posters in this forum so stupid that they cannot figure out that for themselves?

    • 1G25

      How’s the weather in Delphi, shitforbrains ?

    • Who Me?

      YOU, Bossman, are the one who asked.

  • Glen

    Sorry, but I can’t get too excited about this.

    “Kennewick Man may still hold a key. The first effort to extract DNA from fragments of his bone failed, and the corps so far hasn’t allowed a better sample to be taken. A second effort to plumb the old fragments is underway at a laboratory in Denmark.”

    Contrary to the headline, Kennewick Man wasn’t “freed” to share his secrets. The Army Corps of Engineers retains control of the skeleton. The Corps has prevented extraction of dna from the solitary tooth, forcing scientists to “plumb the old fragments.” Success in this endeavor, in terms of our political expectations, is unlikely. Should the scientists succeed and KM is shown to have European roots, the process will be “critically reviewed” and the outcome contested. The meaningless will become meaningful. Minor differences will be magnified out of proportion. In other words if in fact KM is significantly European, the “problem of his origins” will not be resolved within our lifetime.

  • Who Me?

    I have loosely followed this case since the discovery of the bones, since I live about 60 miles from Kennewick Man’s final resting place. Since KM has been proven to have no real connection to the American Indians, or Natives, or whatever you want to call them of this area, they have no claim to the remains, and the Corps of Engineers far exceeded their authority in demolishing the area where the remains were found. That is par for the course for the corps here. They eff up everything they get hold of, and need some serious reining in. They also need S-T-U-P-I-D tattooed on their foreheads for their actions in this case and in many others.

  • journey

    Man today does not have complete knowledge of the origins
    of the different races, not even the origin of life on this planet. The only area that had some “white” settlers is Peru prior to the European whites’ discovery of the Americas. These “white” settlers built Machu Picchu. They are of the same gene pool as the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Aryans. If you examine the ziggurats of the Middle East and South America, they will appear similar. This is the same gene pool that also built Angkor Wat. The book, “Temples of Cambodia: The Heart of Angkor” by Barry Brukoff, has pictures that show similarity to the Greek and European architecture. Within that book, you will find a thatched stone hut similar to the British Isles.

    The Ainu of the Japanese islands is also of the same “white” gene pool that fanned out from the Middle East, the cradle of civilization. The Ainu never came to the Americas.

    These “white” explorers had light eyes, skin, and hair. There is discovery of a painting of a “white” explorer with blond hair and light skin being killed by the natives of South America. This painting pre-dates the arrival of European whites.

  • bilderbuster

    I’ve followed this myself and concur with your assessment completely. This is also the first I’ve heard this nonsense about appeasing the tribes too.
    This was a huge find and immediately the Corps moved with lightning speed to destroy the site and the bones were going to be “disappeared” forever.
    Like I’ve said before there’s too much invested in the “Native American” myth to let a pesky skeleton debunk it.

  • Olorin
  • Guest

    I dunno. I think he was doing what flint-knappers today do: wandering the Kennewick area to trade points and rocks.

    The dry side of WA state is full of nifty basalts that make great Sharp Things if you know how to bash them. Stone tool makers are numerous in WA State in part because of this wealth of natural sources of the right kinds of rock.

    http://www.burkemuseum.org/static/geo_history_wa/New%20Lands%20Along%20an%20Old%20Coast%20v.2.7.htm

    If the Army Corps would let the researchers test his tooth and the point in his hip, we’d know more about his origins, diet, etc. But that isn’t allowed.

  • Pat Boyle

    What no mention of Captain Picard? I don’t believe has has ever accounted for his whereabouts 9,000 years ago.

  • Augustus3709

    What became of those pioneers, Kennewick Man’s ancestors and companions? They were genetically swamped by much larger–and later–waves of travelers from Asia and disappeared as a physically distinct people, Owsley says. These later waves may have interbred with the first settlers, diluting their genetic legacy. A trace of their DNA still can be detected in some Native American groups, though the signal is too weak to label the Native Americans “descendants.”

    I’ve wondered about that. Either the Kennewick people were genocided or absorbed. So what is the specific trace of DNA in the Amerindians? Which Haplogroups etc are they? I’d love to see a graph or chart.

    PS: And you KNOW they made sure to paint that model extra brown. :-

  • Augustus3709

    The so-called Australian Aborigines are now also believed to have genocided an earlier race of humanoids akin to the Negritos living down under.

  • Augustus3709

    He who controls the present controls the past.

    Whether one believes it or not the Biblical text clearly states that Jesus was a direct descendant of Adam, who was of rosy complexion, and Jesus said the Pharisees were “not of his father”, that could mean spiritually, OR genetically.

  • willy wonka

    Interesting that you mention the fear that the remains were Caucasian, which could be problematic. The same thing has occurred with the ancient remains of the Caucasoid people found in the Northern Xinjiang, also known as Uyghuristan, province of China. The well preserved mummies displaying clearly Caucasian features are no longer being displayed for the public and are no longer available for the western scientists who were wanting to study them.