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Kennewick Man

Studies and Curation

On August 30, 2002 the U.S. District Court (District of Oregon) in determining that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act did not apply to the set of human remains known as "Kennewick Man", ordered that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allow for study of the Kennewick collection, subject to the "terms and conditions routinely imposed when studies of objects subject to [the Archaeological Resources Protection Act] are carried out." Bonnichsen v. United States, 217 F. Supp. 2d 1116, 1167 (D. Or. 2002). This decision was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. Bonnichsen v. United States, 367 F.3d 864, 882 (9th Cir. 2004).

The plaintiff scientists have proposed a number of studies since that time which the Corps has reviewed in light of its responsibility to "protect and preserve the condition, research potential, religious or sacred importance, and uniqueness of the collection." 36 C.F.R. § 79.10(a). The scientists have conducted a number of studies with the aim to learn more about the life and death of Kennewick Man. Given the interest in these studies by the public, this site was developed to provide the public with some of the key documents regarding the curation and study of the Kennewick collection.

Questions regarding either the studies or the curation of the remains can be directed to the Office of Counsel via telephone at (503) 808-3763.

  1. Plaintiffs' Proposed Study Plan (October 2002)
  2. Government's Response to Study Plan (November 2002) 
  3. Government's Post-Appeal Response (June 2004)
  4. Plaintiffs' Taphonomic Study and Imaging Proposals (February 2005) 
  5. Government's Response to Taphonomic Study and Imaging (March 2005) 
  6. Plaintiffs' Microsampling of Archived Test Remnants Proposal (April 2005) 
  7. Government's Response to Microsampling of Archived Test Remnants (April 2005)
  8. Plaintiffs' Videotaping Proposal (June 2005)
  9. Government's Response to Videotaping (June 2005) 
  10. Plaintiffs' Measurements and Observations Proposal (January 2006) 
  11. Government's Response to Measurements and Observations (February 2006) 
  12. Approval of Tribal Ceremony and Associated Documents (June 2006) 
  13. Approval of Burke Museum Access and Associated Documents (January 2008) 
  14. Plantiffs' Histomorphometric Analysis Proposal (November 2008) 
  15. Government's Response to Histomorphometric Analysis Proposal (March 2009)
  16. Government's Response to Request to View Remains (June 2010) 
  17. Request and Approval for aDNA Analyses (August 2011) 

Further information can also be found at the following websites:

Tribal and Cultural Policy and Guidance

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tribal Policy Principles and implementation guidance for the Northwestern Division.