We have had a very long history of destroying any Native American thing we touched ever since we’ve first found the continent. But while the worst thing we did was definitely on purpose, there are plenty of other ways we messed up, causing no small ruckus with the Native American community.
One of the latest examples of this is, of course, the Kennewick Man. Found in 1996, the 9,000 year old skeleton has been put through a wide array of tests ever since. And this was happening despite protests and claims from Native Americans that the man was an ancestor and that they just want to bury him.
But of course, the people in charge of the investigation didn’t really care about all that, as there was no way to get scientific to confirm what the tribes were claiming. So, for twenty years, scientists have been performing DNA tests on the remains, only to finally confirm what they’ve been told for two decades.
Finally, two decades after the remains were first found, thanks to the advent of modern technology, scientists confirm Kennewick Man was Native American. Understandably, the tribes are a bit upset since they’ve been saying this for twenty years, but are just relieved that they might soon their ancestor home and bury him. But it’s not as simple as that; I’ll get to it later.
So how did the researchers finally determine the origin of the ancient Native American? Well, they used modern DNA-comparing techniques to compare the fossil’s remaining DNA to saliva samples from members of one of the tribes involved in everything, the Colville tribe.
Thanks to their two decades of study, the scientists managed to discern a number of details related to who the man used to be and how he used to live. Plus, we’ll also look at what’s in store for the remains, as well as for the tribe members that have been fighting to bring their ancestor home for all this time.
First of all, it would seem like the Kennewick Man stood about five feet, seven inches tall, weighed about 163 pounds, and only lived to be around forty. He apparently hunted antelope or deer, but his diet mostly consisted of fish, seafood, and marine mammals. He was also right-handed, very adept at using a flint, and suffered at least two major injuries, including a projectile embedded in his hip bone.
So now that it is finally confirmed that Kennewick man was indeed Native American, he can be brought home to be buried, right? Guess again. No, now all the tribes have to submit individual claims to the government, although an official is going to attempt to get the government to accept a joint claim in order to speed things along. It’s estimated that the remains won’t be making their way home until February 2017 at the latest.
Image source: Flickr