A Kennewick man was reburied on February 18 by some Northwest tribes. They organized a private ceremony, putting an end to a 20-year fight between researchers and tribes. Scientists wanted to study the bones of this man, while tribes wanted to see the man’s bones resting. On Saturday morning, approximately two hundred people gathered in a secret place on the Columbia Plateau.
Some of the religious leaders of those tribes have put the Kennewick man in a tomb, organizing a ceremony with traditional songs. The Kennewick man, also known as the Ancient One, is a skeleton which dates back nine thousand years ago. He was revealed back in 1996 by two students, in the shallows of the Columbia River.
The skeleton presented a stone point in his hip. These remains are currently the most studied and debated ones in the world. Researchers have claimed that the Kennewick man was related to an ancient people in Japan. However, the Northwest tribes which buried him argued that the man was one of their ancestors.
Those tribes believe that the remains of their ancestor needed to be put in a tomb to rest before upsetting the spirits which could make living people sick. A few years ago, a European DNA research unveiled that Kennewick man was closely related to the Northwest tribes. This winter, President Obama introduced a bill into law, allowing for the return into the grave of the Kennewick man.
The Northwest tribes picked up the bones at Seattle’s Burke Museum last Friday, on February 17. The burial ceremony encapsulated about 20 years of scientific studies and legal challenges which ensued after the Kennewick Man was revealed near the Columbia River. Back in 2015, researchers claimed that the remains of this man were related to modern-day Native Americans.
The five tribes which took care of the burial included Wanapum Band of Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Nez Perce Tribe, Yakama Nation and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Aaron Ashley, a member of the CTUIR Board of Trustees and also the chairman of the Cultural Resources Committee, argued that he and the other members of the tribe knew that the Kennewick man was Indian because they have ancient stories which attested the existence of their ancient tribes on that land.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia