Friends of America's Past

The Kennewick Man Case | Court Documents | Amici Curiae

Joint Tribal Amicus Opposition to Intervention

Affidavit of Horace Axtell, Nez Perce Tribal Elder

In Support of Joint Tribal Response Opposing Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Production of Raw Data and Requesting a Protective Order.

I. Horace Axtell, being first duly sworn under oath, state and depose that the following facts, to the best of my knowledge, information and belief, are true and correct:

1. I am a member and elder of the Nez Perce Tribe. I am a member of the Seven Drums society, which shares the same spiritual beliefs and traditional practices that have been passed from generation to generation of our people over 10,000 years of oral history.

2. While I am reluctant to speak and convey my peoples' sacred beliefs and practices in a public forum, I believe that, in this instance these words must be heard.

3. I am aware that the Corps of Engineers has made a decision, based on an extensive administrative record, to return the human remains that have come to be known as the "Ancient One" to the Nez Perce and other claimant tribes.

4. Our people's traditional beliefs and practices teach us that we have an inherent responsibility to care for those who are no longer with us. Our traditional spiritual beliefs, practices, and culture teach us that when a body goes into the ground, it is meant to stay there until the end of time. When remains are disturbed and remain above the ground, their spirits are at unrest.

5. Out of respect for the deceased, our traditional ways teach us to observe with our eyes and record with our heart. Creating, publishing or distributing images of human remains is offensive to our traditional beliefs.

6. Exploitation of images of the "Ancient One" has already occurred. There is perhaps no more haunting and chilling image that (sic) the photograph of a "reconstruction" of the facial features of the Ancient One that scientists concocted and compared to "Star Trek" characters. A copy of this image, widely circulated by some scientists, is attached as Exhibit A.

7. I, and many other tribal people, am deeply concerned that further exploitation of images and information associated with the Ancient One may occur.

Horace Axtell

Subscribed and Sworn to before me this 23rd day of January, 2001.
(signed by Notary)

Exhibit A is a newspaper clip from the Lewiston Morning Tribune, Feb. 11, 1998

Return to Amici Curiae