The 1996 discovery, near Kennewick, Washington, of a 9,000-year-old Caucasoid skeleton brought more to the surface than bones. The explosive controversy and resulting lawsuit also raised a far more fundamental question: Who owns history? Many Indians see archeologists as desecrators of tribal rites and traditions archeologists see their livelihoods and science threatened by the 1990 Federal reparation law, which gives tribes control over remains in their traditional territories.In this new work, Thomas charts the riveting story of this lawsuit, the archeologists' deteriorating relations with American Indians, and the rise of scientific archeology. His telling of the tale gains extra credence from his own reputation as a leader in building cooperation between the two sides.
As Curator of Anthropology and former Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, David Hurst Thomas is responsible for the largest collection of Indian artifacts and remains in the world. Thomas is a founding Trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He lives in New York City.