News Releases

Bill would require the Army Corps to return the Kennewick Man to Columbian Basin tribes 

Murray: “This is about doing right by the descendants of the Ancient One, and I will keep fighting to move this bill forward and bring these remains home.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) bill to return the Kennewick Man, also known as the Ancient One, to Columbia Basin tribes has been included in a larger bill that will be considered by a Senate committee for the first time on Thursday. Senator Murray’s bill, the Bring the Ancient One Home Act, would return the prehistoric human remains of the nearly complete male skeleton known as Kennewick Man, or the Ancient One, to a coalition of Columbia Basin tribes. Experts believe the remains, discovered in 1996 on federal land near the Columbia River, are at least 8,400 years old, making the Ancient One among the oldest and most complete skeletons found in North America. Senator Murray’s Ancient One legislation is included as part of the larger Water Resources Development Act, which will be considered by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“This is a big step forward and great news for Columbia Basin tribes who have been fighting to bring the Ancient One home to his rightful place,” said Senator Murray. “This is about doing right by the descendants of the Ancient One, and I will keep fighting to move this bill forward and bring these remains home.”

In June 2015, new genetic evidence determined the remains are closer to modern Native American than any other population worldwide. Senator Murray introduced S. 1979, the Bring the Ancient One Home Act in August 2015, which would transfer the remains from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which has existing, effective, and efficient regulations in place to carry out repatriation of remains such as these, to tribes. Several area tribes have joined together in calling for the Ancient One’s return to his descendants.

For more background on the Kennewick Man, click here.

This bill is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Michael Crapo (R-ID).

 

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