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An Anthropological Perspective on Magistrate Jelderks’ Kennewick Man Decision

By Peter N. Jones and Darby Stapp


The “Kennewick Man” controversy is an extremely important case in the history of American anthropology. As anthropologists with backgrounds in American Indian studies and American archaeology, we have a particular interest in this case. In this paper we present our perspective on the Kennewick Man case as anthropologists with expertise in archaeology, Pacific Northwest precontact history, Plateau ethnology, and cultural resource law. In general we find that the August 30, 2000, decision of Magistrate John Jelderks of the United States District Court for the district of Oregon to be incorrect and without anthropological foundation. Based on an analysis of the evidence reviewed by the Department of the Interior and Magistrate Jelderks we conclude that the Department of the Interior made a reasonable decision in determining that a preponderance of the evidence supports repatriation of the Kennewick Man to the defendants

Topics: Sociobiology, Evolution, Population Biology
Year: 2003
OAI identifier:

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