Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to return the remains of an ancient skeleton called the Kennewick Man to American Indian tribes.
The ancient skeleton was discovered in 1996 along the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington.
The skeleton was the subject of a nearly decade long lawsuit involving tribes, scientists and the federal government, which left the remains in the hands of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
In a letter on Monday, Inslee’s wrote to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brig. Gen. John Kem that the latest scientific study ends many of the questions surrounding the Kennewick Man’s identity.
“Rarely have Native American human remains been subjected to such intensive investigations and examinations,” Inslee wrote. “While I fully appreciate the importance of scientific inquiry, the cultural needs of our state’s Tribes must also be met and balanced accordingly.”
Inslee also notes that tribes have been waiting for years for “the remains to be transferred for reburial.”
Efforts to reach the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation late Tuesday weren’t successful.
The Kennewick Man is currently held by the Burke Museum in Seattle, but according to the museum the bones are not on display.