Friends of America's Past

NAGPRA | News and Comment

An essay worth reading in light of S.536

PZ Myer's essay puts the remnants of the past into the context of individual lives and offers a valuable perspective on time. Preserving these remnants honors the truth of these lives, waiting to be rediscovered.

If S.536 amendment 108 to NAGPRA becomes law, the remnants of truth are in jeopardy of being destroyed by politics and imposed myth.

AP article (M. Daly) - April 8, 2005

"Angela Becker-Dippmann, a spokeswoman for Cantwell, said that even if the bill is signed into law, tribes "will still have to prove a cultural connection" to an archaeological find before being allowed to claim them."

Senators Cantwell, McCain and others deliberately mislead the public with such statements. Freedom of Information Act documents identify more than 20 cases of unidentified and culturally unaffiliated remains that the DOI handed over to coalitions of tribes making claims under NAGPRA. S.536 amendment, along with new DOI regulations, would make this practice universal. Further, the court found that the coalition created for the purpose of making a joint tribal claim for the Kennewick Man and sanctioned by the Department of the Interior was illegal. NAGPRA does not provide for coalitions created using the argument that 'surely someone in the group is related somehow' or 'we believe everyone is our ancestor'.

Ask Senators Cantwell, McCain and your state's Senators if the amendment will have "no effect" on Kennewick (and thus other ancient remains) as they claim, why are they expanding the definition of Native American in NAGPRA? Point out to them that the DOI's track record for following the clear requirements of NAGPRA is dismal. The DOI's willingness to blatantly ignore these "fine points" when implementing NAGPRA promises to continue.

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