Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Politics of "the BONES".

 The "first" reconstruction of  Kennewick Man
with more "European" features .
All most 10,000 years ago a mystery emerged that would set the debate over who really discovered America.The prehistoric man is known as "Kennewick Man," and his nearly intact skeleton was discovered 18 years ago in eastern Washington state. He was about 5-foot-7 and weighed around 160 pounds, and  — five of which never healed — well before his death, a Washington State University study found.He was buried "in an extended, prone position, face up, the head slightly higher than the feet, with the chin pressed on the chest, in a grave that was about two and a half feet deep," which kept his for millennium, according to the Smithsonian. His remains , a part of the Columbia River that pooled after the building of the McNary Dam, according to the National Park Service. Erosion from boat traffic was a likely cause of the bones surfacing under different parts of the lake, scientists concluded.Aside from these revelations, the discovery has brought another key realization to the forefront: Humans arrived in North America far earlier than previously thought.The traditional theory is that people came by foot across the Bering Strait on a land bridge that once existed between Asia and what is now Alaska. But the existence of Kennewick Man, he said, is evidence of boat use: *** "They had boats coming into the New World much earlier, and that he is from these East Asian coastal populations." Bering Straits land bridge is supposed to have existed.  First, the land bridge appeared about 20,000 years ago and disappeared about 11,000 years ago, a good 2,000 years before Kennewick Man lived.  (2)> It seems reasonably well established that humans were in North America at least 13,500 years ago. 
Another "update" of Kennewick Man,
now appears more "Asian" , but
not resembling any Native
There are claims going back as far as 40,000 years, but there is a lack of conclusive and widespread evidence on that point.  There is no reason to think that Kennewick Man himself came from Asia. 
There is no question that there has been multiple migrations to the Americas, but what is in question is the means and results of any study on the topic. Most likely, he was a resident fisherman.  He came from somewhere far away, far up the Pacific Northwest coast, possibly Alaska or the Aleutian Islands. He might even have come to North America all the way from Asia.That’s the argument of the editors of a new, 688-page, peer-reviewed book, “Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton,” that will be published this fall by Texas A&M University Press.Scientists have told their story of Kennewick Man before in lectures and interviews, but the new book represents the most detailed account of research that came about only after scientists sued for access to the bones. The Army of Corps of Engineers, which has custody of the bones, had pressed the scientists to publish their research. Now it has finally arrived, in a volume as thick and heavy as a textbook.Kennewick Man could not have been a longtime resident of the area where he was found, but instead lived most of his adult life somewhere along the Northwest and North Pacific coast where marine mammals were readily available,” the concluding chapter of the book states.During the analysis on Kennewick Man’s skeleton, archaeologist James Chatters was surprised to discover that his anatomical features were quite different from those of modern Native Americans. In particular, his long narrow face, prominent chin, and tall stature did not resemble remains of other Paleo-Indians. In fact, the facial measurements show most similarity to the Ainu of Japan. The Ainu are a Caucasian minority who once possessed the whole of the Japanese Islands. A people closely related to the Ainu also once lived in Polynesia and many light-skinned Polynesians (typically from the ruling class) have facial features similar to Kennewick Man. (1)> According to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), if human remains are found on federal lands and their cultural affiliation to a Native American tribe can be established, the affiliated tribe may claim them. The Umatilla tribe requested custody of the remains, wanting to bury them according to tribal tradition. Their claim was contested by researchers hoping to study the remains.However, the same year, a United States senator amended the NAGPRA, changing the definition of “Native American” to that which is or was “indigenous to the United States”. This meant that Kennewick Man could be classified as Native American regardless of whether any link to a contemporary tribe could be found. However, the ruling did not resolve the controversy as it remains to be decided which Native American group should take possessions of the remains. While the debate continues, Kennewick Man is being kept in a private area of Burke Museum at the University of Washington.The North American and South American continents were once empty of people. Contrary to Indian religious beliefs that they have been here since the beginning of time, it is a fact that all humans, including the ancestors to modern Indians, came here from Eurasia.Rare evidence, such as the Kennewick Man, give scientists and the public glimpses of the variety of people who were here prior to modern Indians. How, or whether, these early people were related to modern Indians is not known and can only be learned by scientific study of their remains.

*** The Libs are renaming Columbus Day to 'Indigenous Peoples Day' -- fantasizing that if Columbus hadn't landed in America then the U.S. would still be populated by stone age Indians with no Europeans here. (1)> From 1996 to 2004, federal agencies spent millions of dollars to unsuccessfully defend this position in the Kennewick Man litigation. More than the Kennewick Man skeleton is at stake. All those here before European contact in 1492 would fall under the domain of modern American Indians. If NAGPRA is amended, public policy would sanction only a religious view and explanation of the continent's prehistory. Scientific access to and factual understanding of prehistory will be denied on tribes' religious grounds. (2)> The newest cry of oppression against scientists is that Indians are using NAGPRA to cover up the new evidence that the Americas was first colonized by Europeans. “For instance, in 1993, Robson Bonnichsen — a Kennewick Man plaintiff — found human hairs at a 10,000-year-old site in Montana. The Bureau of Land Management forbade DNA studies, Lanna says. He lists three other cases in which western U.S. skeletons at least 8,000 years old reportedly showed Caucasoid characteristics like Kennewick Man. Two were returned to tribes, and one remains in limbo.” (Lee, 1998) These sentiments can be heard in the testimony of Congressman Doc Hastings, R-Wash. in front of Congress; he was arguing to revise NAGPRA. He points out that the Indian communities hold so much power over the scientific community due to the vague nature of NAGPRA, so by revising it Congress would be “restoring a sense of balance and equal treatment to federal policy.” (Hastings, 1997) Behind the whining of scientists about the choke hold Indians have on them, there is a larger question of racialized discourse.

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