Friends of America's Past

The Earliest Americans | Challenges to Preserving the Past

Determination Announced on Spirit Cave Man

We congratulate the Nevada BLM on its determination based on the preponderance of the evidence. Their determination that the remains from Sprit Cave are unaffiliated with any modern individual, tribe, or other group and are therefore culturally unidentified shows that the intent of NAGPRA can be carried out fairly and impartially. The public interest has been served in preserving these remains as federal property, to be held in the public trust.

However, we are concerned that the Nevada State Museum has stated that no scientific study will be allowed. Scientists may be able to add important information about the identity of this individual. Denying scientific study eliminates the possibility that the Spirit Cave Man's identity will ever be known with any degree of certainty. Further, considering only the opinions of dissent from this determination, but not allowing further scientific study, is arbitrary, costly, promises little hope of resolution, and perpetuates the divisiveness between the groups that has already lasted four long years.

Please write to Secretary Babbitt and urge him to recommend that scientific study be allowed to help determine the identity of the Spirit Cave Man to end this stalemate. The divisiveness will continue as long as the Spirit Cave remains are held in limbo.

Secretary Babbitt's email:

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