Subject: Re: original Americans - off topic
Date: Dec 14 14:49:07 1998
From: "Jane Westervelt" - jwesterv at

I know we're way off topic here, but I'm jumping in anyway.

Many of the statements that are being made about the Kennewick man
appear to be based on information gathered from the popular press,
and not on information gained through actual knowledge of the case.
Not that I would expect anyone to be providing first hand knowledge,
because most of the people involved firsthand are under a gag order
due to the case being in legislation. Some of the opinions appear to
be coming from people with a very limited knowledge of anthropology,
something that has also been a problem in the Kennewick Man case.

There is definitely controversy over this, which may be more the
result of how the find was handled and not a conflict between tribes
and physical anthropologists and archaeologists. There are plenty of
situations where burials are found, reported, and returned to the
Native Americans in accordance with NAGPRA (Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act), and there is no reason why this
case could not have been handled the same way.

Before I get too long-winded, my point is that everyone needs to be
careful about believing verbatim what they see and hear in the
popular media. The Army Corps of Engineers, the tribes, and the physical
anthropologists & archaeologists are not the "bad guys", and they
aren't to blame, although it can be easy to do so when reading some of
the articles that have appeared in newspapers and on the web. Much
like the story in an Oregon paper a few months back about Peregrine
Falcons that featured a photo of a Prairie Falcon, the popular media
is full of errors. Keep in mind that most reporters, faced with
reporting on a large variety of subjects, often have very little
training in the subject matter they are reporting on.


Jane Westervelt, Sr. Secretary
University of Idaho
Sociology/Anthropology/Justice Studies
Phinney Hall 101
Moscow, ID 83844-1110
(208) 885-2032
jwesterv at