The "Kennewick Man Controversy" Argumentative Essay

The "Kennewick Man Controversy"
A look at the "Kennewick Man Controversy" from the side of the scientific community.
# 151928 | 848 words | 5 sources | APA | 2012 | CA
Published on Oct 26, 2012 in Anthropology (North American) , Native-American Studies (General) , Ethics (General)

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This paper examines the case of the "Kennewick Man" in which ancient human remains were found, and the ensuing debate over to whom they would belong. First, the paper discusses how the Native American community believed they should have rights to bury the remains because they believed them to belong to an ancestor. Next, the paper focuses on the rights of the scientific community who wanted to perform tests on the remains to learn more about early human habitation of North America. It also notes that according to DNA testing, the remains were not related to the neighboring Umatilla tribe. Then, the paper explores the concept of appropriation, particularly from the viewpoint of the Native Americans. Despite this, the paper argues that the scientists should have the right to study the remains of "Kennewick Man" further citing various reasons, particularly the overall benefit to scientific knowledge.

From the Paper:

"Since the day it was discovered "Kennewick Man" has sparked immediate scientific interest particularly because the old age of the skeletal remains signified different Ice Age migration patterns (Fiedel 2004). The skeletal remains represented a great opportunity for scientists to understand the earliest inhabitants of pre-historic America. Scientists were able to identify certain South Asian or Polynesian features suggesting an emerging theory that America was populated from different sources and that the Aboriginals were not the first ones to inhabit the place (Fiedel 2004). However, their right to further study the remains was cut short by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who decided to turn the remains over to the Umatilla Indians under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which attempts to correct the history of "unequal treatment of Native American and non-Native American graves and property" (Coleman and Dysart 2005: 10). Additionally, once the scientists were given the right to analyze the remains they were limited by their scientific tools and time as the Umatilla tribe demanded the return of the remains at the soonest possible time. One of the conclusions of the scientists based on the results obtained is that "Kennewick Man" did not fit any of the modern classifications..."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chatters, James C. 2000 The Recovery and First Analysis of an Early Holocene Human Skeleton from Kennewick, Washington. American Antiquity 65 (2): 291-316.
  • Fiedel, Stuart J. 2004 The Kennewick Follies: 'New' Theories About the Peopling of the Americans. Journal of Anthropological Research 60 (1): 75-110.
  • Coleman, Cynthia-Lou and Dysart, Ervin V. 2005 Framing of Kennewick Man against the Backdrop of a Scientific and Cultural Controversy. Science Communication 27 (1): 3-26.
  • Fish, Adam 2006 Indigenous Bodies in Colonial Courts: Anthropological Science and the (Physical) Laws of the Remaining Human. Wicazo Sa Review 21 (1): 77-95.
  • Walker, Deward E. and Jones, Peter N. 2000 Other Perspectives on the Kennewick Man Controversy. American Anthropologist 102 (4): 907-910.

Cite this Argumentative Essay:

APA Format

The "Kennewick Man Controversy" (2012, October 26) Retrieved December 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The "Kennewick Man Controversy"" 26 October 2012. Web. 09 December. 2023. <>