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The remains of the Kennewick man

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Once you have read the article, visit the PBS website about Kennewick man, focusing on the scientists' claims (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/first/claim.html) and on the processes used to reconstruct a very lifelike model of Kennewick Man (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/first/kennewick.html). Then, do some research of your own into this conflict, as well as other science-culture disputes you think are relevant.

Science vs. culture
During this week's discussion, you should take a side in this controversy. You should make a post that very clearly outlines your opinion on the case: Who you think deserves ownership of the remains and why, what should be done with these remains, and what sacrifices will be made when your own solution is implemented?

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The remains of the Kennewick man became the focus of debates about the relationship between Native American religious rights archaeology and other interested stake holders. Five native American groups (the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama, Wanapum and Colville) claimed the remains as theirs, to be buried according to Native American custom. Only the Umatilla tribe continued further court proceedings. In 2004 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cultural link between the tribes and the skeleton was not met enabling the continuation ...

Solution Summary

This solution offers an opinion on the controversy surrounding the remains of the Kennewick man on found on federal lands affiliated with Native American tribes.

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Kennewick Man exemplifies science versus culture.

The tensions between science and culture extend far beyond disputes over evolution. In some cases, science and culture disagree on not just what is true, but how actions should be taken in the real world. The story of Kennewick Man is a perfect example of this.

In 1996, while two tourists were visiting Kennewick, on the Columbia River in Washington, they stumbled across a human skull. After the police collected the skull and an almost completely intact skeleton, they determined that the bones came from a Caucasian man. But strangely, there was no murder investigation. This is because, in a very strange twist, Carbon-dating tests showed that the bones were more than 9,000 years old - much older than the earliest recorded Caucasian visits to North America in the 14th century.

Anthropologists, paleontologists, biologists and archaeologists all whipped themselves into a fury of excitement over these bones, which were soon given the name "Kennewick Man." Everyone, it seemed, wanted to study these remarkably well-preserved remains. At the same time, the local Umatilla Indians, whose ancestors have lived on the Columbia River for thousands of years, claimed the rights to rebury the remains, under the North American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). To this ancient tribe, the bones are sacred remnants of their ancestors, and as such, they should be returned to the ground.

Science vs. culture
This very clearly outlines your opinion on the case: Who you think deserves ownership of the remains and why, what should be done with these remains, and what sacrifices will be made when your own solution is implemented.

What other science vs. culture disputes does this conflict remind you of, and why?

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