On July 28th, 1996, two college students stumbled upon an anthropological find that would change forever the way North Americans view their past. While holding hydroplane races on private land on the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washing, Will Thomas and Dave Deacy noticed a human skull mired in the mud. It turned out to be one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in North America. James Chatters, the anthropologist who eventually investigated the skeleton, determined that the skull had "Caucasoid" features. The word, "Caucasoid," and the subsequent carbon dating of the bones, which found them to be over 9,000 years old, ignited a firestorm of controversy.
These events pitted science against religion and scientists against Native Americans. The scientists demanded the right to study the bones. The Umatilla Tribe believed the bones to be sacred and ancestral. They were adamant that the bones be repatriated to the tribes for reburial.
The documentary explores with humor and compassion the cultural assumptions and differing opinions among the various groups involved, and attempts to explain why so many have claimed the bones of Kennewick Man.
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