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Archaeological Politics and Public Interest in Paleoamerican Studies: Lessons from Gordon Creek Woman and Kennewick Man

  • Douglas W. Owsley (a1) and Richard L. Jantz (a2)
Abstract

This paper discusses the Kennewick lawsuit as it relates to the intended purposes of Nagpra. It also reflects upon comments made by Swedlund and Anderson (1999) in a recent American Antiquity Forum, which conceptually linked two ancient skeletons, Gordon Creek Woman and Kennewick Man. Their assertions indicate the need for clarifying specific issues and events pertaining to the case. We comment on how times have changed with the passage of NAGPRA, how differently these two skeletons have been treated by the media and the scientists interested in them, and show how discussions of biological affiliation have relevance. There is still much to be learned from Kennewick Man and Gordon Creek Woman. But attempts to bring the concept of race or racial typing into the picture show misunderstanding regarding the use of morphological data in tracing population historical relationships, not to mention obfuscating the scientific issues they raise.

Résumé

Este artículo discute la controversia de Kennewick y su relatión con los objetivos propuestos por NAGPRA (Ley de Protectión y Repatriatión de Restos Nativo-americanos) y también los comentarios hechos por Swedlund y Anderson (1999) en un reciente foro de American Antiquity, los cuales están vinculados conceptualmente con dos antiguos esqueletos; la mujer de Gordon Creek y el hombre de Kennewick. Sus afirmaciones indican la necesidad de clarificar aspectos específicos y eventos pertenecientes al caso. Hablamos sobre cómo ha cambiado NAGPRA con el paso del tiempo, de cómo estos dos restos han sido tratados por los medios y los científicos interesados en ellos y de la relevancia que tienen las discusiones sobre afiliación biológica. Todavía queda mucho por aprender acerca del hombre de Kennewick y la mujer de Gordon Creek. Pero los esfuerzos para sacar a la luz el concepto de raza o tipo racial, muestran la falta de entendimiento respecto al uso de datos morfológicos para establecer las relaciones históricas de poblaciones.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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