Friends of America's Past

The Kennewick Man Case | Court Documents | Amici Curiae

Joint Tribal Amicus Opposition to Intervention

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

I Matthew Dick, Jr., being first duly sworn on 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 current member of the Colville Business Council ("CBC"); the governing body of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation ("Tribes") as designated by the Constitution of the Tribes. The CBC consists of fourteen representatives elected by popular vote; four each from the Nespelem, Omak, and Inchelium districts, and two from the Keller district. I previously have served as Chairman of the CBC from 1995 to 1997 and as a CBC member from 1986 through 1997.

2. In addition to my status as a member of the CBC, I also serve as the Chairman of the Culture Committee of the CBC. The Culture Committee provides a forum for issues of the Colville Culture and religion to be discussed and analyzed at the governmental level.

3. My selection as Chairman of the Culture Committee is based in part on the recognition of myself as someone knowledgeable in the practices and beliefs of the culture and religion of the members of the Colville Tribes. I have a lifelong history of participation in the religious ceremonies practiced at the Tribes and a lifelong adherence to the tenets of these religions.

4. I am providing this statement today to demonstrate why ordering the federal defendants to give plaintiffs an electronic copy of the requested raw computer data would cause irreparable harm to the Tribes. The Tribes, along with the other amici tribes in this case, properly claim ownership of the human remains of the Ancient One. As will be shown below, it is our duty to protect the remains and any resulting products or images.

5. One tenet of our beliefs is the sanctity of the spirit of the deceased. Those who have passed on, no matter how long ago, are entitled to respect. This respect that we owe prohibits the exploitation, display, viewing or use of images of human remains in a non-sacred setting. Therefore, under our traditional law, if the respect owed the deceased is violated in such a manner, the spirit of the deceased is disturbed.

6. Another tenet is the interconnectedness of all life. Because all things are connected, damage in one part of life will reflect itself into other parts of life. A disturbance of the spirit of the deceased will cause a disturbance in the lives of the living.

7. Another tenet is the respect and sanctity to be shown our elders, both living and deceased. We have a spiritual duty to protect and defend our elders, and we will be judged by both the Creator and ourselves in how we carry out these responsibilities. A failure to defend one's ancestors is to commit a wrong that may not be recoverable.

8. Human remains and the images and data derived from them are sacred and have spiritual importance to the Tribes. Under our beliefs, remains, images and data of our ancestors should not be intrusively viewed, handled, or manipulated. At the very least, they should not be placed in a non-sacred setting. The viewing and use of images, including a potentially unlimited amount of images, that can be derived from raw computer data in this case would be of an intrusive and offensive nature to the Tribes, and would cause a serious harm to occur.

9. Under our beliefs, all human remains and the images and data derived from them are burial items and rightfully belong to the claimant tribes for appropriate disposition.

10. Under our beliefs, it is improper to analyze, dissect, or display human remains including images and data derived from remains.

11. It would be a serious violation of our traditions to subject human remains and their images to exploitation. Thus, the remains and images of the Ancient One must not be made available for exploitation.

12. Allowing plaintiffs access to the raw computer data would increase the harm. Thorough documentation has resulted from the study of the Ancient One's human remains. While the testing of human remains is repugnant to the Tribes, further replicating and displaying the images of the Ancient One, including a potentially unlimited amount of images, will increase the harm.

13. The Ancient One is our ancestor, our elder. His remains are sacred to us. It is our duty to protect and defend our elder, and to ensure that no others are allowed to disrupt the remains. The removal, studying, documentation of the remains that have already occurred are violations of our beliefs, as summarized previously. Any further products, such as replicating the images of the skeleton, of these earlier actions are also violations of our beliefs. The earlier actions should not have happened in the first place, and any further activity regarding the remains should not be allowed to occur. The only proper remaining activity that should, and must, occur is the return of the Ancient One to the claimant tribes.

14. In sum, turning over a copy of the raw computer data to the plaintiffs and the act of replicating the images of the Ancient One, including a potentially unlimited amount of images, would be serious harms to the Tribes.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on January 22, 2001.

Matthew Dick Jr.

Return to Amici Curiae