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Murray’s provision to return remains of the Ancient One, also known as Kennewick Man, to Columbia Basin tribes included in larger bill that passed the Senate today 

Murray: “After more than twenty years of debate, it’s time to return the Ancient One to his rightful resting place” 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) effort to return the remains of the Ancient One, also known as Kennewick Man, to Columbia Basin tribes cleared a significant hurdle today, after the U.S. Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) 95-3. The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sen. Murray’s bill, the Bring the Ancient One Act (S.1979), is included in WRDA and would return the prehistoric human remains of the nearly complete male skeleton to an appropriate resting place. 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. In June 2015, new genetic evidence determined the remains were closer to modern Native Americans than any other population worldwide.

“After more than twenty years of debate, it’s time to return the Ancient One to his rightful resting place,” Senator Murray said. “I’m proud to see this legislation so close to the finish line. I’ll be fighting to ensure we get this done to honor his descendants and write the final chapter on the history of the Ancient One.”

Sen. Murray’s provision would transfer the Ancient One 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, to be laid to rest in an undisclosed location.

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