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