Friends of America's Past

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A Message from the Board

December 2003

After seven years of delays and obfuscation, the Department of Justice finally admitted that they have no qualified claimant for the Kennewick Man skeleton. In September 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the Kennewick Man lawsuit. The DOJ appealed only one issue in the Federal District Court's opinion: the definition of Native American. A new Joint Tribal Coalition told the Appeals Court that the lower court erred on every issue. The scientists continue to seek access to study the ancient remains. An opinion from the 9th Circuit panel is expected sometime in 2004.

As Friends of America's Past begins our sixth year, we thank you for your help in supporting the Kennewick Man case. In 2003 your gifts helped us to cover more than $12,500 in out-of-pocket expenses for the scientists’ appeals defense. Expenses included printing and filing the scientists’ briefs and two friends of the court briefs. We also helped with travel, mailing, and other critical litigation expenses. Legal costs can be expected to continue, as further proceedings may eventually bring this case before the Supreme Court.

Your gifts also helped support our website, which provides easy access to key documents and information about the Kennewick Man case. For example, visitors can listen to the audio of the 9th Circuit hearing, read the 1997 and 2002 Federal District Court opinions, or research key topics such as the independent geologic reports of the discovery site prior to its destruction. With your continued help, we can ensure this information remains available to everyone. As far as we know, our website is unique in offering the public unfiltered information about this lawsuit.

In 2004, we’ll continue to enhance the website for our expanding audience. We are listed as a resource in major press reports, dozens of university courses from anthropology to political science and the law, and we are linked to a variety of websites worldwide. Government agencies also use our site as a resource. We hope to spark creative discussion about the trends that challenge science and their consequences. For example, we plan to solicit articles on the impacts of NAGPRA and the interface between science and the law.

We've recently added Paypal as an easy, secure, and efficient way to accept donations online, including international gifts. Scroll down this page and click the "Make a Donation" button.

Together, we are making a difference. On behalf of our Board, thank you for your generous support and best wishes for the coming year.

Cleone Hawkinson, President