Joe Sexton, Yakama Nation Present to Society for American Archaeology Re: Kennewick Man

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On Saturday, Joe Sextion presented, along with Yakama Nation Leadership, at the Society for American Archaeology's 83rd Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, regarding: "The Cultural Affiliation of the Ancient One (Kennewick Man)." According to the program description:

The Colville, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Wanapum, and Yakama utilized NAGPRA’s preponderance of evidence standard to demonstrate a relationship of shared group identity with the Ancient One. The tribe’s proactive approach with collaborative partners overcame the hegemonic ideology of a federal agency to repatriate the Ancient One for his final journey to the Creator. For over twenty years, the Claimant Tribes asserted their cultural affiliation. Our purpose here is to illustrate that, although he was repatriated under the WIIN Act of 2016, there does exist evidence of a shared group identity based upon all available, population specific data for the Columbia Plateau. This information provided the evidentiary basis for the identification of an earlier group and cultural affiliation to the Claimant Tribes. The Ancient One falls within the variability exhibited at the same time period and throughout time on the Columbia Plateau. He was not outside of the norm for the population existing during the Early Cascade period and for the populations that followed for which he has a shared group identity. The Claimant Tribes are in fact culturally affiliated to the Ancient One and have never signed anything that legally says they are not.

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Joe Sexton is Of Counsel with Galanda Broadman, PLLC.  Joe’s practice focuses on tribal sovereignty issues, including complex land and environmental issues, and economic development matters.  He can be reached at (509) 910-8842 and