Friends of America's Past

The Kennewick Man Case | Court Documents | Affidavits & Declarations

Plaintiffs' Request for Immediate Response Re Study Request


Alan L. Schneider, OSB No. 68147
1437 SW Columbia Street, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97201
Telephone: (503) 274-8444
Facsimile: (503) 274-8445

Paula A. Barran, OSB No. 80397
520 SW Yamhill Street, Suite 600
Portland, Oregon 97204-1383
Telephone: (503) 228-0500
Facsimile: (503) 274- 1212

Attorneys for Defendant






CV No. 96-1481 JE


I, Richard L. Jantz, being first duly sworn, do depose and state as follows:

1. I am one of the plaintiffs in the above-entitled case.

2. My date of birth is July 4, 1940. I have been a member of the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, since 1971. Further details of my professional background are provided in my affidavit dated February 13, 1997 that was filed with the Court in support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Order Granting Access to Study Skeleton.

3. I have devoted my professional career to the study of human skeletal variation and the evolution of New World native populations. One of the principal objectives of my research has been to obtain a better understanding of the processes that led to the peopling of the Americas and to the development of the various native populations that inhabited North America at the time of contact with European explorers and settlers. Understanding these processes requires resolution of certain fundamental questions. Where did the initial New World colonizing populations come from? Were there multiple prehistoric migrations to the New World, or only one? What was the nature of the transition from the earliest New World populations to those existing at the time of European contact? Did the transition involve in situ evolutionary change of the initial colonizing populations, or a replacement of those populations by later colonizing groups? Or was it some combination of these mechanisms?

4. I am now reaching a stage in my career where it is time to begin synthesizing my research and views concerning the above questions. My ability to prepare such a synthesis is, and will continue to be, impacted by defendants' refusal to allow me access to the Kennewick Man skeleton. As noted in my previous affidavit, the existing sample of relatively intact North American skeletons older than 8500 years is extremely limited. Each specimen is unique to some degree (either greater or smaller), and each new addition to the sample has something to add to our ability to detect and interpret patterns in the fossil record. By increasing the size of our sample, the Kennewick Man skeleton will help to improve the discriminating power and the statistical reliability of our analyses. It will also add an important geographic element. The Pacific Northwest may have been one of the first regions of the New World to be colonized by humans. Kennewick Man is the most complete early skeleton ever found in this critical region. As such, it could provide important insights concerning what the first colonizing populations looked like, who they most resembled and where they came from.

5. The Kennewick Man skeleton is also important because of the position it has come to occupy in the perceptions of the scientific community and the general public. Because of the controversy surrounding its discovery and this lawsuit, Kennewick Man is probably the most publicized skeleton ever found in North America. Interpretations of early New World human biology will be considered incomplete unless they include a thorough analysis of this specimen. Such an analysis cannot be made without access to the skeleton.

6. Defendants' refusal to allow us access to this specimen places me and other researchers at a significant disadvantage relative to those individuals who were given an opportunity to examine it as part of the government's study team. On April 30, 1999, I attended a presentation given by Dr. Joseph Powell at the 68th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Powell is one of the two biological anthropologists hired by the government to study the Kennewick skeleton. His AAPA presentation discussed the origins of the earliest known Americans and included data from Kennewick Man. While I respect Dr. Powell's professional competence, I do not agree with all of the views expressed in his presentation. Some of them appeared to be substantially different from my views of New World evolution and descent. Without access to Kennewick Man, I am handicapped in my ability to respond to his interpretations and determine their potential impact on my research. I cannot verify his observations or assess the merits of his conclusions without an opportunity to make observations of my own.

7. Denial of access to the Kennewick Man skeleton will also leave a gap in the computer databases compiled by Dr. Douglas Owsley and myself. As noted in my previous affidavit, Dr. Owsley and I have spent the past 15 years (now 17 years) developing specialized computer databases for assessing the morphological affinities of human skeletal remains. Our databases now contain cranial measurements on more than 2000 historic and prehistoric individuals. Included are measurements on all of the existing early North American skeletons and crania that I am aware of. These include: Spirit Cave (approx. 9400 years B.P.); Wizard's Beach (approx. 9200 years B.P.); Minnesota Woman (approx. 7900 years B.P.); Brown's Valley (approx. 9000 years B.P.); Horn Shelter (approx. 9700 years B.P.); La Brea Woman (approx. 7000 years B.P.). Our databases are used not only for scientific research, but also for conducting affinity studies for museums and federal agencies in repatriation situations. Without Kennewick Man, our ability to conduct such affinity studies will be adversely affected, particularly in situations involving older skeletal remains.

8. During the course of our careers, Dr. Owlsey and I have been permitted to examine and measure skeletal remains in collections maintained by or for a number of different federal agencies. These include: Bureau of Land Management (Department of Interior); Bureau of Reclamation (Department of Interior); National Park Service (Department of Interior); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Forest Service (Department of Agriculture). Our database contains measurements on hundreds of skeletons from federal collections. In certain cases, we have even received financial support from federal agencies to collect data on skeletal remains in their collections. For example, in 1995 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided financial assistance for our investigation of an Army Corps collection curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory in Austin, Texas.

9. I understand that defendants have stated that their study team's data will be made available to other researchers at some point in the future. Such a release of data should be made, but it is not a substitute for examination of the skeleton by myself and other researchers. To suggest that the government's data can satisfy the needs of all scientists is contrary to the principles of good science. Proper scientific inquiry requires independent assessment of all data and conclusions. Without such independent assessment, there can be no confidence in the reliability of data or in the interpretations reached by a scientist. The fossil skeletons of Europe, Asia and Africa have been examined by many paleoanthropologists over several generations, and they continue to be studied by researchers. Independent assessment of skeletal remains by multiple researchers has also been the practice in this country. Evaluation of the Kennewick skeleton by myself and other researchers is essential to ensure that the primary data is correct and that all relevant perspectives have been obtained.

10. It is now approaching three years since the Kennewick skeleton was found. I am at a point in my life where the passage of time becomes increasingly important. Although I am in good health and have no immediate plans for retirement, the fact remains that my productive years are growing shorter and the future more contingent with every passing day. The longer defendants persist in denying me access to the skeleton, the greater the impact on my research and my ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in my chosen field. The lead time for preparation, review and publication of peer reviewed articles can approach two years and in some cases can be considerably longer. The lead time to write and publish scholarly books is longer still. If access to the Kennewick skeleton is delayed for another year or two, the cumulative effect will be a lag of approximately five to seven years in my opportunities to see any positive results from study of this important specimen. These are more years than I can afford to lose.

11. This lawsuit with its attendant notoriety and the effort required for its prosecution has been a significant drain on my time and resources. It has interfered with my teaching by reducing the knowledge and insights that I can pass on to a new generation of researchers. As noted above, it has also impacted my capacity to carry out my research. The government should not be allowed to delay this case any longer. It is time that the case be brought to a conclusion.

DATED this 14th day of July, 1999.

Richard L. Jantz

SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this 14th day of July, 1999.
Michael R. Young
Notary Public for Tennessee
My Commission Expires: 05/28/03

Return to Affidavits & Declarations