The Unlimited Hydroplane Races several years brought an archaeological discovery that has changed history. The archaeological discoveries, Kennewick Man, expanded the discussion of Native Americans History. The discovery added to the question of whether Europeans came to the new world several thousands of years earlier than present history claims
On July 28, 1996, a man was playing in the water during heats of the Columbia Cup of the Unlimited Hydroplanes. The father kicked up and skull and called the police to the site. The police removed spectators from the area and closed the area as a crime scene, but when the police officers look at the skull they realized that the skull appeared fossilized and so a crime did not occur and it became an archaeological site. Washington State University uncovered the full skeleton. Along the lines of the crime scene, the archaeologists have determined that he had not died from violence.
Many examined the first examination of the skull and speculated that it had European features and determined its age at 9,000 years. Some speculated that he was of the missing Walsh tribe that many legends had speculated populated the Northwest. Lewis and Clark expected to find the Walsh tribe on their journey. To help make the argument that he had more European than Native American features, scientists created a mold from the skull and the skills used by forensic detectives to identify crime victims, the archaeologist were able to give Kennewick Man a face. Many looked at the face and saw what they wanted. Indians still accepted them as there own and wanted the funeral rights honored.
Scientists have spent a lot of time in court to determine who has right to the skeleton. NAGPRA requires that remains found in the nation belong to the tribe within the area. When construction occurs in an area and the police determine that the remains are not of recent times, the authorities release the remains to the local tribe for burial according to Native American tradition. The Umatilla tribe has asked for possession of Kennewick Man. The Archaeological community argued that he walked the earth prior to the tribes that we call Native Americans and the benefit to human history outreaches the respect to religious traditions that probably were not a part of Kennewick Man's life.
Senator John McCann offered a bill in the Senate that would make Kennewick Man Indian. The bill did not pass. The remains are stored at the University of Washington.
Human history expands with each archaeological discovery and Kennewick Man has expanded the historical discussion even if answers failed to surface.