August 4, 2004


The tribal intervenors in the Kennewick Man lawsuit have served notice that they intend to oppose any further study of the 9400 year old skeleton despite orders from two courts holding that scientists must be allowed to study it. In a memorandum filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, the tribes argue that they should not be dismissed from the case because they have "spiritual, cultural and property interests in the skeleton". Their memorandum goes on to state that:

"The Tribes ... have opposed the invasive and destructive testing and examination that has occurred during the past eight years. The additional testing proposed in Plaintiffs' study plan, which provides for handling of the remains by more than a dozen, and probably several dozen individuals, inevitable will damage these precious human remains ...." Memorandum at 4.

The tribes' memorandum also states that they have a continuing interest in the case "to protect the [skeleton's] burial site from further excavations." Memorandum at 3. In addition, their memorandum appears to indicate that they will continue to push for "reinterment" of the skeleton. Memorandum at 9.

The tribes involved in this latest development are the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Yakima Tribe. In August 2002, the District Court found that there was no evidence to show that the skeleton is culturally affiliated to these tribes, or that it has any relationship whatever to any present-day American Indian tribe. In February 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

The skeleton was originally found in July 1996. It has yet to be studied as thoroughly as scientists believe necessary in order to learn what role this individual and his people played in early human settlement in North America.

Further details can be obtained from either of the undersigned. The text of the tribes' memorandum can be found here on the Friends of America"s Past website [].

Alan L. Schneider
1437 S. W. Columbia St., Suite 200
Telephone (503) 274-8444
Facsimile (503) 274-8445

Paula Barran
Barran Liebman LLP Offices
601 SW Second Avenue, Suite 2300
Portland, Oregon 97204
Phone: 503-276-2143
Fax: 503-274-1212