Tribal rights

20131115-121901.jpgWhat would be a good elevator speech for my talk today?

As I jet to Seattle to speak about science and public policy to a group of experts, I figure I’m not giving a lecture.

I’m telling a story.

The most compelling story I know is Kennewick Man.

Indian tribes have been fighting since 1996 to have the skeleton returned home.

How ironic that my talk is located at the temporary location of Kennewick Man at the University of Washington.

Scientists were keen on examining the bones to learn more about human origins.

Tribes countered the skeleton is a being; not a science project.

And legislation had been passed in 1990 to guarantee the return of artifacts and human remains to tribes.

But in the Kennewick Man case the judge favored the scientists, and the skeleton remains closeted in Seattle.

Indian perspectives on the case continue to be ignored.

One of the scientists studying the bones was described recently as “instrumental in advocating for the right of scientists” to study artifacts that “without his intervention…would more than likely have been lost to science.”

But what about rights of the tribes?

9 November blog for National Native American Heritage Month

Photo of the Burke Museum in Seattle where Kennewick Man remains


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, framing, Indian, journalism, Kennewick Man, Uncategorized, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s