If anybody has any insight into the Corps of Engineer's behavior that was discussed in the article, I'd love to hear it.
The tribes are given enormous legal latitude and power on the basis that they are residing on their ancestral lands since the beginning of time. This is a working legal assumption absent evidence to the contrary. The Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior, et al need to operate with the consent of the tribes for many parts of their job.
The tribes sometimes use this relationship as leverage to gain a variety of concessions out of the government. The Corps of Engineers needs a good working relationship with the tribes as a practical matter or it makes their job very difficult.
Herein lies the conflict: any scientific evidence that the tribes are not in their ancestral lands undermines their political leverage and so they actively attempt to suppress scientific inquiries that may undermine them. The Corps of Engineers and other government organizations that need the permission of tribes to operate are strongly encouraged by the tribes to maintain the status quo or the tribes will make life difficult for them. It is a clear conflict of interest.
In summary, the tribes have a political and financial incentive to suppress any evidence that they were not the first occupants of their land, and they have the leverage in some parts of government to use the government as their agents to enforce that perspective. Consequently, and unfortunately, a lot of archaeological evidence is quietly destroyed or unreported in that part of the country to avoid being held hostage by the tribes.
I'm ambivalent. This is very important science, but it comes at a cost of stomping on Native American rights.
The only reason this information took so long to become available, was because scientists had to fight to prove that the provenance of the bones was not Native American. And the article states that the bones are more closely related to the moriori, as it turns out after the study happened more than 10 years later. So no stomping.. This is something that was required to be proved before the bones became Native American property to dispose of by law. The Corp's actions as described by this article, look unethical and against the interests of the American people (and for that matter mine, as a non-American).
There is no reason to believe that there is any stomping on any rights, except the rights of people not to have to make hollow gestures, in order to appease an aggrieved people. At least, that is how the article portrays it.
This isn't just a hollow gesture. The Indians have certain special rights and privilege by virtue of their history, and the federal government has a legal duty to protect their special interests. The federal government is essentially required to take the Indians' side in a dispute like this one.
This is a cynical way to look at the issue, but I don't see why it's not valid.
So? They haven't.
> but it comes at a cost of stomping on Native American rights
One of my biggest pet-peeves is when someone uses a process-based argument to conceal their true motives, and the article sure does a good job of painting it that way. I'd love to hear the other side of the story, whether from the relevant Congresspeople or the Corps.
This is interesting. Kennewick man's bones were radiocarbon dated to 8900 years before present, or around 6900 BCE.
I have never heard before that the "Bering land bridge migration" occurred after 6900BCE. That is much more recent than most estimates.
In fact, if they simply handed the bones off to the Smithsonian or whoever, they could've washed their hands of the whole thing. The fact that they didn't do so indicates to me that they wanted to hold onto the bones as a bargaining chip with the native tribes.
There are thousands of accounts and plenty of photographs of ancient unearthed 9ft tall skeletons in north america. Allegedly the smithsonian has a bunch of them but won't let people look at them.