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The Kennewick Man Case | Court Documents | Communications with the Court

Joint Tribal Claimants' Reply in Support of Motion for Stay Pending Appeal -- ATTACHMENT


January 24 2003

Mr. Armand Minthorn
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
P.O. Box 638
Pendleton, Oregon 97801

Dear Mr. Minthorn:

This responds to your letter dated January 15, 2003, in which you requested consultation on the plaintiffs' Proposed Study Plan of the Kennewick Man Skeletal Remains (hereinafter Proposed Study Plan) and also on the possibility of a long-term agreement regarding the removal or studies of any collection in possession or control of the Corps.

As you are aware, the Court in the Bonnichsen case directed the United States to allow the plaintiff scientists to study the remains subject to appropriate tents and conditions. It is my understanding that you have been provided with, and will continue to be provided with, all recent correspondence between the plaintiffs and the Department of Justice regarding the Proposed Study Plan in response to your FOIA request. As indicated in that correspondence, the United States is well aware of the importance of its responsibilities to "Protect and preserve the condition, research potential religious or sacred importance, and uniqueness of the collection" and is seeking to develop the appropriate terms and conditions for the study.

The Department of Justice has advised us that in directing the United States to develop appropriate terms and conditions, the Court did hot provide for the Tribes' participation in that process. As a result, the Department of Justice has advised us not to consult with the Tribes on the Plaintiffs' Study Plan -- given the Court's findings in its August 2002 opinion that the Corps' communications with the Tribes were inappropriate - absent express authorization from the Court While we do not agree with the Courts analysis about our previous communications with the Tribes, under the circumstances we do not believe we can consult with you on the particular matters now under discussion with the plaintiff scientists.

As for your request to discuss a long-term agreement regarding the removal or studies of any collection in possession or control of the Corps, we would like to keep the lines of communication open on this matter. We are certainly willing to meet with you on the 27th of this month to consult on this matter.

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this matter please do not hesitate to contact me at 5O9-527-77O0, or Linda Kirts the District Counsel at 509-5277707,


Harry L. Cunningham
Major, Corps of Engineers
Acting Commander

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