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Skull Wars: Kennewick Man, Archaeology, And The Battle For Native American Identity

David Thomas

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The 1996 discovery, near Kennewick, Washington, of a 9,000-year-old Caucasoid skeleton brought more to the surface than bones. The explosive controversy and resulting lawsuit also raised a far more fundamental question: Who owns history? Many Indians see archaeologists as desecrators of tribal rites and traditions archaeologists see their livelihoods and science threatened by the 1990 Federal reparation law, which gives tribes control over remains in their traditional territories. In this new work, Thomas charts the riveting story of this lawsuit, the archaeologists' deteriorating relations with American Indians, and the rise of scientific archaeology. His telling of the tale gains extra credence from his own reputation as a leader in building cooperation between the two sides.

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