KENNEWICK MAN LAWSUIT
Tribal efforts to stop scientific study of the 9400 year old Kennewick Man skeleton continue. Late last week, the four tribal appellants in Bonnichsen et. al. v. U.S. filed a petition with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that their appeal be reheard by a larger panel of the court. This petition follows a decision on February 4, 2004 by a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit holding that the skeleton is not Native American as defined by federal law and can be studied by scientists.
The plaintiffs-scientists will oppose the petition if further briefing is requested by the court. The petition says nothing that has not been argued already in the case and rejected by the courts. Almost eight years have now passed since the skeleton was first discovered, and further delay would serve no useful purpose. Plaintiffs are confident that, even if the Ninth Circuit does decide to rehear the appeal, it will reach the same result as the three judge panel and the District Court.
No word has been received yet whether the government will also petition for rehearing. Its time period for doing so expires today.
Further details can be obtained from either of the undersigned. The petition will be posted soon on the Friends of America's Past website [www.friendsofpast.org].
[Friends of America's Past will post the tribes' petition when we receive a copy]
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