The Politics of Kennewick Man’s Remains

Cynthia Coleman Emery's Blog

time-magazineWhy We Should Care?

Remains of a 9500-year old skeleton discovered on American Indian land 20 years ago have been making news because Congress recently approved legislation to return the bones to local tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

For 20 years I’ve studied how public discourse takes shape, thanks, in large part, to the work of graduate student Erin Dysart Hanes.

Although Erin graduated some time ago, the unearthing of the bones—called Kennewick Man by non-Indians and The Ancient One by local tribes—has been the hub in my research wheel.

The conflict arose in Indian Country when scientists wanted to study the skeleton, while indigenous communities argued that Federal law (NAGPRA) protected human remains from perturbation.

After a nine-year court battle, the judge ruled against the tribes and the skeleton was removed to the Burke Museum in Seattle, where the remains have been the subject of intensive study.

Tribal leaders…

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The Politics of Kennewick Man’s Remains

time-magazine

Why We Should Care?

Remains of a 9500-year old skeleton discovered on American Indian land 20 years ago have been making news because Congress recently approved legislation to return the bones to local tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

For 20 years I’ve studied how public discourse takes shape, thanks, in large part, to the work of graduate student Erin Dysart Hanes.

Although Erin graduated some time ago, the unearthing of the bones—called Kennewick Man by non-Indians and The Ancient One by local tribes—has been the hub in my research wheel.

The conflict arose in Indian Country when scientists wanted to study the skeleton, while indigenous communities argued that Federal law (NAGPRA) protected human remains from perturbation.

After a nine-year court battle, the judge ruled against the tribes and the skeleton was removed to the Burke Museum in Seattle, where the remains have been the subject of intensive study.

Tribal leaders long claimed that the bones—which were dug up from an area that Native people have called home for literally thousands of years—were subject to Indian laws and customs.

Two claims made headlines. Continue reading

Posted in american indian, Dakota pipeline, Kennewick Man, news bias, politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Kennewick Man Bones Finally Return

the-saga-of-kennewick-man

Marty Two Bulls, from Indian Country Today

I was honored to join three tribal leaders who shared their insights and stories on today’s (2 February 2017) broadcast about the Ancient One–Kennewick Man.

The skeleton was discovered more than 20 years ago along the Columbia River, and local tribes were denied the right to have the bones returned, as guaranteed by Federal statute in NAGPRA legislation.

Instead, the bones were secured at the Burke Museum in Seattle so scientists could examine them.

Now, 20 years later, the Ancient One will be returned to Columbia River tribes.

Michael Marchand (Colville), JoDe Goudy (Yakama) and Nakia Williamson (Nez Perce) share knowledge seldom gleaned from mainstream press coverage in today’s broadcast.

You can hear the broadcast online at Native America Calling, where host Tara Gatewood asks some pressing questions about what the return of the ancestor means to Columbia River tribes and our other neighbors, and the role of science and culture in Indian Country today.

My small contribution was to note that the mainstream media–for more than 20 years–framed the story along a narrow scope.

“The central issue of concern,” said one noted journalist, “is the issue of who was here first?”

I strongly argue this is a false and misleading characterization.

Rather: one central issue is:

Who gets to decide what happens to ancient bones and artifacts on Native soil?

This issue is paramount because Kennewick Man represents only one battle unfolding in Indian Country about the role that tribes are afforded in participating in decisions that affect us, ranging from ancient remains to oil pipelines.

Special thank you to Andi Murphy, Associate Producer at Native America Calling

 

#cynthialcoleman

#Kennewickman

#nativescience

 

Posted in american indian, Kennewick Man, Native Science, nativescience | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Turn this Argument Upside-Down

Separate, but not Separate

indians

Just when you’re about to lose hope, those clever Buddhists help you see the light.

I listened to a talk about differences and separation, and it dawned on me what Buddhists have been suggesting all along:

There is no separation.

Granted: it’s a difficult concept to accept through a rationalist’s perspective.

One teacher, writing about separation, said, “A sea does not reject water, and therefore is able to bring about its vastness. A mountain does not reject soil, and therefore can bring about its height. An enlightened ruler does not despise ordinary people, and therefore can bring about a large populace.”

The writer says there’s no separation between the mountain and soil, the sea and water, the ruler and subjects. Continue reading

Posted in american indian, Buddhist, Dakota pipeline, democracy, hate speech, immigration, manifest destiny, refugees | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Call Out the Lies

 

nicolajennings

Artwork by Nicola Jennings of The Guardian

Resist

Time to call out the lies.

You can still be gracious.

But there’s no need to tolerate stupidity in the face of bigotry, misogyny and dishonesty.

So: write, text, tweet, and follow the folks whose aim is to halt the threats to democracy and pluralism.

Resist.

Watch Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah and John Oliver.

Support Planned Parenthood, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Inequality Media.

Several of my pals told me in person or on email this week they share the sentiments in my blog—the despair and hopelessness created by elected officials whom we should be able to trust. Continue reading

Posted in american indian, democracy, fucktrumpet, hate speech, journalism, Lakota, native press, Native Science, nativescience, press, social justice | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Science makes us Smarter

Feeling Rotten, Part 3

smart-women

Science makes us smarter

I mourn the loss of integrity when shenanigans from high-ranking folks we elected make headlines.

What happened to grace and goodness?

I’m embarrassed to learn that Republicans voted to gut ethics standards from our nation’s core governing bodies.

And they made the decision behind closed doors, in the evening hours, on a holiday, in secret.

After receiving thousands of phone calls from citizens upset over their cloaked behavior, the Republicans backed off.

Their actions beg the question: why would you want to eliminate ethics standards?

Or health care?

Or science?

How, in all that we collectively hold dear, could these possibly be seen as threats?

Continue reading

Posted in american indian, ethics, native press, Native Science, politics, science, science communication | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Bring Back Integrity

Feeling Rotten, Part 2 Yup: the lies, the venom, the cronyism and the bigotry repulse me. We have buried integrity in the political landscape. Two examples of integrity loom: one made headlines thi…

Source: Bring Back Integrity

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