URGENT Action AlertPhone calls and faxes are most effective and immediate. Congress needs to hear from as many people and organizations as possible - quickly.
House of Representatives
Senate Indian Affairs Committee
House Resources Committee
As early as next week (April 4-8, 2005) the US Senate will call a voice vote with no discussion on S.536. In Section 108 of this bill, the Senate Indian Affairs committee quietly and unanimously voted to amend NAGPRA's definition of Native American. No public hearings were held on this sweeping change.
This expansive definition of Native American sets the stage to overturn the Kennewick Man decisions rendered by the Federal District Court of Oregon and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2004 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in the Kennewick Man lawsuit that the government's interpretation of the definition of Native American yields an absurd result. This flawed interpretation persists with the language added in Section 108. The Senate must not pass any law that yields an absurd result. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs did not hold public hearings on this matter, nor did it consider the broad implications of this change nor the interests of the greater public. More than the Kennewick Man is at stake. Unless Section 108 is withdrawn, public access to the factual understanding of the nation's prehistory shifts to the exclusive control of American Indians.
FAX your concerns to your state's Senators and Senate Majority Leader Frist. Ask them to take action to delete Section 108 from S.536. (US Mail will not reach these offices in time). Every FAX counts.
What to do
Subject: S.536 - Withdraw Section 108
Return to News and Comment