Bill Allows The Return Of Kennewick Man To Tribes

Dec 12, 2016

This July 24,1997 file photo a plastic casting of the skull from the bones known as Kennewick Man, is shown in in Richland, Wash. A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to require the federal government to give the bones of the Kennewick Man back to the Indian tribes from which he descended.
Credit AP

The Yakama Nation and other Columbia Basin tribes are praising the passage of a bill in Congress that will return their ancestor, known as Kennewick Man, to the tribes.

The return of the ancient skeleton will allow the tribes to rebury him in the manner their people have followed "since time immemorial."

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray first introduced the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act and was joined by senators from Oregon and Idaho. Murray says a provision in the bill will start the process for returning the Kennewick Man to his "rightful resting place."

The bill passed on Saturday and now heads to President Obama to be signed into law.

JoDe Goudy, chair of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council, said the fight to get the remains returned took 20 years but with the help of their friends in Congress, "he will be returned so that he may finally rest."