The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

McCain's anti-Kennewick bill is almost passed the Senate

Last time we were here (November 18 2004), it was for the Campbell bill that failed.

This time, the bill (S 536) is sponsored by John McCain and, according to THOMAS, has been reported out by the Indians Affairs Committee (of which McCain is chairman) and is just waiting to be called off the calendar.

The NAGPRA amendment (§108) is the same as that in the Campbell bill: its effect would be to ensure that the scientists who laboured to secure the opportunity of analysing Kennewick Man will most probably be deprived of that opportunity.

The interests served by the bill are those of the tribes whose claim to be the first inhabitants of North American underpins their bargaining strength with the Federal governmentm.

This is certainly as great a perversion of the political process as anything Jack Abramoff has managed. But, it seems, it's only a voice vote away from passing the Senate.

(I say seems because the pro-scientists lobby group Friends of America's Past say that the Indian Affairs Committee had scheduled a meeting on June 14, subsequently cancelled, to discuss §108. Why would a committee hold a hearing on a bill it had already reported out?)

Clearly, what is needed here is for one or more senators to place a hold on McCain's wretched bill - perhaps there already is a hold, and the June 14 meeting was in response to it. Or is that too Pollyanna-ish an interpretation?


My strong feeling is that, in today's Washington, scientists unattached to Big Pharma, oil or other big donors have rather less clout that the Ku Klux Klan. Whereas Indians have wampum by the billion [1], most of it nonconsecutive.

If a senator were found to have stymied the bill that keeps their myths intact, wouldn't a wall of wampum be heading towards the candidate thought most likely to beat that guy?

I just hope the Kennewick scientists have a Plan B...

  1. I have no idea whether some or all of the tribes seeking to send Kennewick Man to oblivion are gaming Indians or not.


There is, of course, more stuff online about KM than you can shake a stick at. From the 'sphere, Moira Breen has stuck with the story, and has loads of good stuff.

For instance, she has background details of the witnesses due to attend the aborted June 14 committee meeting. The range of views rather suggests a mind hermetically sealed to any view other than that §108 has no kind of fault or flaw.

On the other hand, on May 4, she passed on a FOAP release quoting McCain aide Patrick McMullen as saying that McCain would be introducing an amendment to remove §108 from S 536.

The situation seems to be fluid!

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