Free Custom «The Kennewick Man (Turner)» Essay Paper

Free Custom «The Kennewick Man (Turner)» Essay Paper

The Kennewick man controversy holds strong stand points on the archeological disputes in the recent past of the American social science fraternity and the government. This is regarded the most important stories of the archeological advancement. The Kennewick story brings the controversy right from the time it come into the limelight of the general public. What he represents the efforts of the federal government to settle the case, the scientist’s pressure to settle the research findings and the great opposition raised by the Native American society over the remains of the Kennewick man (Turner).

The controversy is involving the American government, the scientist involved in the research of the fossils and archeological science and Native American population who are said to claim the ownership or the relation with the Kennewick man. The nature of the work done on the remains and the scrutiny of the general public and the efforts of the federal government are the pillars of the controversy (Chatters).

The American natives maintained that Kennewick man was predominantly a member of the society belonging to the American community this however cannot be determined by the scientific findings since the issue of race is actually not scientific but they are cultural and differ from people to people. While this is true that no scientific evidence can be drawn to favor the racial evidence of origin of Kennewick man, science maintains that the geographical affiliations can be estimated by simple DNA paleontological tests. The Difficulty of telling the race is a strong challenge to any other person, worse enough is when science too is not able to give exact estimates of the origin or the race of the fossils and peoples remains. This is the issue with the Kennewick man where origin and racial classification of the scientific findings is causing public confusion right from the time of discovery of the remains in the late nineties.

Scientific discovery

Kennewick man was first discovered during boat the race that took place in the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996.two of the spectators came across a skull of a human being on the shows of the river. The skull was sent to the archeologist James chatters who later went together with his colleagues to the Columbia to retrieve the entire skeleton.

They described the appearance of the skull to be of a man in his forties and had along narrow faced that they suggestive that the man was a European origin. The teeth were suggestive they had not been ground so much which they suggested that the teeth had no cavities ( When chatters and the associates sent the fossils for carbon 14 dating they were surprised that it was dated back to approximately 9000years.

Considering the fact that the show and the stretch of Columbia River is inhabited by the Umatilla tribe among other five tribes as their home land and also that the stretch is also maintained by the US army corps of line with the law of the native American Grave s and Repatriation act that was facilitated by president George h. Bush in the early nineties which states that when the remains of an individual are found on the federal ground of their ancestral claimed land and the  cultural affiliation established the remains must be returned to the tribe it belongs. This made the Umatilla’s claim the ownership and relation of these remains and demanded that they be allowed to assume the burial of the remains .the start of the repatriation process was started after the army corps agreed to this claim.

Considering this, the Kennewick man controversy holds greater problem sidelined to the archeological need to set it has always been known that the American people began to settle in the past 12000years and they came in three groups on arrival they settled on the three regions relative to their origin and arrivals. But the most recent evidence show that the arrival of other small groups gave rise to the controversy of the tribe and the migration patterns of the American people. However some of these groups later became extinct and can no longer be traced and their migration History not recorded. The Kennewick man is however considered too good not to let go without scientific analysis. At least eight scientists have been sued for the patent security to analyses the Kennewick 2008 the bones were sent to the researchers at the Seattle museum following the judgment passed that the bones be studied. This evoked heated debate and the results of the study later reached the public in 2006.

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The controversy in Kennewick man

For the individual who want to know the race of the Kennewick man, this interest contributes to a larger part of the controversy surrounding the Kennewick man fossils. Contrary to the evidence put in the scientific findings the race of the Kennewick man is not known since race is not known scientifically, race is more inclined to cultural than science (J. C. Chatters).

The controversy surrounding the Kennewick man has three main forces pulling in the either side of the individual interests. These represent the scientific group involved in the analysis of the remains of the Kennewick man. The federal government and the American natives that claim the ownership and relation so claimed whatsoever with the Kennewick man.

The federal government holds the standpoint that the Kennewick man has the legitimate origin of the Kennewick man can be affiliated to the present Indian communities. This was arrived at after considering how costly it has been and the repetition of circumstances surrounding the Kennewick man. The statement relating the Kennewick man to the modern Indian was released in a letter drawn by the secretary for interior of America in 2000.the most interesting fact about this claim is that the secretary of interior claimed that there was enough evidence on the geographical, historical and linguistics. But still this form of evidence was mainly inclined on people’s scientific evidence was considered an there was need to run DNA test on the bone collagen in the lab. The Davis molecular lab reported that the near future could be possible to extract DNA samples from the bones for tests.

The general native population holds that the available evidence of migration patterns was highly regarded in the distribution of people in the American settings. The three large groups that first occupied the country are considered in sampling the origin of the Kennewick man. Relative to this, they therefore object the fact that the claim by the government is false since no other tribes are in the recorded in history have the legitimacy of belonging to the. This theory is supported by the fact that the remains of the tribes that settled in the north part for example have been identified by scientist; same to those that settled in the other parts of the country. The sampled linguistics show three main languages in the early time and the archeological remains sampled reveal these three tribes that settled so long time ago.

The scientific argument was however evoked in 2000 when the chief archeologist for the national park service together with the chief consulting archeologists for the department of interior announced in the letter to the Corps of engineering that the studies on the Kennewick man belong to the Native American was dated to be about to between 9320 and 9510years back. This claim was more inclined to the law that of the Native American Graves Protection and repatriation.

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The instruction sin the letter was based on the native Americans repatriation act and it was allowing the corps for engineering to carry on the and allow the native American tribes to bury the remains of the this case  native America mean anybody relating to  a tribe ,tradition or people with the American indigenous inclination.


Racial determination is an issue of concern on the discovery of the Kennewick man over the past years. This remains a challenge however even to the scientific point of view because the racial issue is more inclined to cultural factors than scientific. The controversy surrounding the Kennewick man is largely on the race of these remains. The three groups which include the federal government, the scientist and the Native Americans all maintain their own stand points about the race of the Kennewick man. The federal government believes that the Kennewick man must have belonged to the modern Indian rest on the evidence in the literature and recorded history and the historical sites

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The Native Americans hold on to the theory that the migratory patterns in which there were three main groups that had  and that  no other tribes could have come to settle after the massive settling of the first three groups. This theory has a weakness, in that the minority groups that settled later were either not recovered in the history but has gone extinct due to perhaps absence of knowledge about their existence.

The scientist however has not been successful in bringing up the real estimates of the racial origin of the Kennewick man. The legislation on the archeological protection is also a factor contributing to the controversy, because the epistemological existence of the Kennewick man is merely on the fossils found and the law on the Native American repatriation raised a mixture of reactions by the court and the scientists over the legitimacy of the Native Americans. Proper test should however be devised to provide adequate information related to the DNA structures of the fossils.



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