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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CJ311:

Kennewick Man is a 9,400-year-old human skeleton found along the Columbia River in Washington state. Oral tradition of the Umatilla tribe says that they had always inhabited that area, making Kennewick Man their ancestor, and requiring, under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, that his bones be returned to the Umatilla for reburial.


Armand Minthorn, cited in Morell 1998, below.


  1. Populations migrate and disperse. Very few family groups stay in one place for 9,000 years. It is unlikely that Kennewick Man was an ancestor of any of today's Umatilla.

  2. Traditions from some other tribes in the area, such as the Quillayute, strongly imply that the Umatilla have not been native there forever (Clark 1953; Isaak 2002). Even a pagan group has claimed Kennewick Man as an ancestor.

  3. It is ironic to note that the only form of creationism to receive federal approval in United States in the last fifty years is Umatilla creationism (although a circuit court of appeal has overturned this decision (Chatters 2001, 266; Paulson 2004; Holden 2004).


  1. Chatters, J. C., 2001. (see below)
  2. Clark, Ella E., 1953. Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest, Berkeley: University of California Press.
  3. Holden, Constance, 2004. Scientists hope ruling will lead them to bones. Science 303: 943.
  4. Isaak, Mark, 2002. Flood stories from around the world.
  5. Paulson, Tom, 2004. Scientists win Kennewick Man ruling. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5 Feb. 2004,

Further Reading:

Chatters, James C., 2001. Ancient Encounters: Kennewick Man and the first Americans. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Morell, Virginia, 1998. Kennewick Man's trials continue. Science 280: 190-192.
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created 2003-11-1, modified 2004-6-6