Subject: Kennewick Man etc.
Date: Dec 14 21:45:23 1998
From: Eugene Hunn - hunnhome at


I've kept my mouth shut so far on this issue despite being an
anthropologists who has worked for the past 25 years with local Native
American communities and know many of the central figures in the Kennewick
Man controversy.

It's just too complicated to sum up in a few sound bites here. However, I
also would caution people from jumping to conclusions and laying blame on
the basis of incomplete information. One thing is clear to me, however, that
it was a serious mistake to refer to Kennewick Man as "caucasian" or even
"caucasoid," implying a racial typing that is rejected by the vast majority
of serious physical anthropologists. The implication of such "name calling"
is that if the skeleton is "caucasoid" it therefore cannot be "Native
American." That is ridiculous, since known Native American populations are
highly variable. Besides, the presumptive source populations for staging
across the Bering Land bridge (or bridges) during the many thousands of
years the continents were broadly joined were a complex mix of north Asian
peoples. It is entirely likely that among those earliest arrivals were
peoples whose descendants now live in Scandinavia, the northern Urals,
Mongolia, Siberia, Hokkaido, etc. So what does one skeleton prove? Not much.

Gene Hunn.