Yakama Nation commends congressional action for return and rebur - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakama Nation commends congressional action for return and reburial of Kennewick man

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The Yakama Nation commended the United States House of Representatives’ action on Wednesday to approve legislation containing a provision that will return the Ancient One, also known as the “Kennewick Man,” for reburial.

Kate Valdez with The Yakama Nation had this to say about the congressional action:

"The Yakama Nation and other tribes involved in our decades-long fight to return our relative, including the Wanapum Band, the Colville, the Umatilla, and the Nez Perce Tribes (“Claimant Tribes”), eagerly await the end of our struggle. The legislation now must be reconciled in committee after legislation was passed by the Senate earlier this month."

The remains of the Ancient One were discovered in 1996 along the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington, and within the indigenous homelands of the Yakama Nation. Estimates indicate that the Ancient One’s remains are more than 8,000 years old. Since 1996, his remains have been disturbed, damaged, partially destroyed, and kept from his final resting place for scientific study.

Yakama Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy expresses his gratitude and requests this matter be finalized as soon as possible.

“More than 20 years ago, the Yakama Nation started its struggle for the return of our family member, the Ancient One, so that we and his other relatives among the Claimant Tribes can finally lay him to rest,” said Goudy. “We would like to again thank Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for her leadership in the Senate to get this done. We also extend our gratitude to Congressmen Heck (D-WA), Newhouse (R-WA), Kilmer (D-WA), and Walden (R-OR) for cosponsoring this legislation in the House of Representatives. Our hope is that this legislation finds its way to President Obama for his signature as soon as possible. This bipartisan leadership from our federal government on this important matter is long overdue. It is time for our relative to come home.”