Repatriation of the Ancient One - A Tribal View: Then, Now, and In-Between

Author(s): Jacqueline Cook

Year: 2016


The Ancient One’s 8,400 year old remains were claimed by Native American Tribes as their ancestor after eroding from the banks of the Columbia River in 1996. What began as an Inadvertent Discovery, defined in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), turned into a 20 year challenge to the Act, tribal culture, oral traditions and religious beliefs.

In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling allowing scientific study of the Ancient One; the courts determined this individual was not Native American and not subject to NAGPRA. Considered not a Native American, he could not be culturally affiliated. Despite court rulings, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Wanapum Band have stood by their knowledge and traditions. These tribal teachings were substantiated by DNA studies. The Ancient One is Native American and related to the Columbia Plateau tribes. This presentation will discuss the journey the claimant tribes made in their effort to repatriate the Ancient One, the effects on NAGPRA, and the relationships between the claimant tribes and Agencies.

Cite this Record

Repatriation of the Ancient One - A Tribal View: Then, Now, and In-Between. Jacqueline Cook. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404078)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.168; min lat: 42.131 ; max long: -113.028; max lat: 49.383 ;