Highlights of the Status Conference
The status conference was held on Wednesday, October 25, 2000 and lasted about an hour. In addition to three government attorneys, five tribal amicus attorneys were also present. Alan Schneider and Paula Barran represented the scientists.
The Magistrate Jelderks opened by lifting the stay allowing the case (on hold since 1997) to proceed so the scientists' claims may be heard. He asked four questions of the government:
1) After quoting from documents filed by the agencies, he asked if his understanding of the agencys' definition of "Native American" is correct. (yes) He indicated a strong interest in reviewing this definition. He invited the amicus parties (tribes) to submit their views as well.
2) He asked if the agencys' determination to culturally affiliate the Kennewick Man to the five claiming tribes was final. (yes)
3) He asked if the Corps' denial of the plaintiffs' study request was final. (yes)
4) He asked if they agreed to retain custody and curation of the skeleton to preserve its scientific value pending the resolution of the lawsuit (yes).
He allowed the plaintiffs' request to amend their complaint to include violations of the National Historic Preservation Act and the Freedom of Information Act (destruction of the discovery site). He allowed the door to remain open for other issues that may become apparent when the administrative record is filed.
Oral hearing of the case is scheduled for June 19, 2001, 10:00
am in Portland, Oregon. Several interim dates were established
related to the process.
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