University of California professors Timothy White, Robert Bettinger, and Margaret Schoeninger are suing to keep their university from turning over two 9,000-year-old skeletons to the La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Law Posta Indian Reservation for reburial. These two ancient skeletons were excavated from the chancellor's residence at the University of California, San Diego in 1976.
Eske Willerslev, the University of Copenhagen geneticist who uncovered the genome of the 13,000-year-old Anzick skeleton earlier this year, told Wired magazine "To give them away without study, would be like throwing the genetic crown jewels of the peopling of the Americas in the ocean. It would be a major loss for all, including Native Americans."
The scientists' attorney, knowing of the OAC's involvement in the Kennewick Man case, asked us to submit a Friend of the Court brief in support of the scientists' efforts to save these Paleoamerican skeletons from being given to an American Indian tribe with no demonstrable cultural connection to the remains. The OAC Board acted quickly to prepare a draft and Brad Baker, a former OAC member and now an attorney, turned the document into a forceful legal brief, which was filed today on behalf of the OAC (Monday September 22, 2014).