Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is now sponsoring that very troublesome bill, formerly championed by the departed Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, to amend the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act so as to expand Indian tribes’ power to assert control over prehistoric human remains not associated with any still-existing tribe (see Oct. 18, 2004). The bill would go far to reverse scientists’ victory in the nine-year court battle over tribes’ asserted right on cultural grounds to reclaim the remains of 9.300-year-old Kennewick Man (Aug. 9, 2004, etc.) Cleone Hawkinson, president of Friends of America’s Past, “says the change would make it impossible to study the earliest inhabitants of North America. ‘American archaeology would come to a standstill,’ she said.” A hearing before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is scheduled for Jul. 28. (Sandi Doughton, “Fate of Kennewick Man study unclear”, Seattle Times, Jul. 15).
More: reader Carey Gage writes in to advise, “check out Moira Breen’s site on this issue. She has been all over it for years.”