|20 April 2004
Scientists win new battle over skeleton
Anthropologists seeking to study the ancient Kennewick Man skeleton scored another victory when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by four Northwest tribes for a rehearing in the lengthy dispute. Tribal lawyers sought to have the case reheard by the full court after a three-judge panel ruled in February that the tribes had no right to the 9,300-year-old remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
A brief order issued by the court denied the request from the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama and Colville tribes, who want to bury the remains without a scientific study. Alan L. Schneider, a Portland lawyer representing the scientists, said his clients were pleased with the court's decision. Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle lawyer for the tribes, told The Oregonian that his clients "are clearly disappointed. This case has dealt a staggering blow to the tribes' ability to protect their cultural properties." Smith added that no decision has been made whether to appeal to the Supreme Court
The collection of 380 bones and bone fragments, which were found in July 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash., are being stored at the Burke Museum in Seattle.
Sources: Associated Press, Yahoo! News (20 April 2004)
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