Archaeologist Albert Goodyear found artifacts at the Topper Site near the Savannah River in South Carolina that indicate humans lived here 37,000 years before the Clovis people.
Goodyear's findings are controversial and will open scientific theory as to the exact origin and history of early Native American people.
The scientific community believes the ancestors of
Native Americans crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia 13,000 years ago. Some scholars disagree, saying that Native Americans evolved in the Americas and migrated outward.
A controversial case is Kennewick Man, found July 28, 1996 on the bank of the Columbia River in Washington. The Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama, and Colville claimed the remains for a traditional reburial under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Local anthropologist James Chatters had removed nearly all the remains for study and concluded they were Caucasion. The Ninth Circuit Court ruled February 2004 that a cultural link between the tribes and the skeleton was not met.
NAGPRA proponents say the definition of Native American, “ that which is or was indigenous to the United States,” agrees with current scientific understanding that it is not always possible for prehistoric remains to be traced to modern tribal entities, due to social upheaval, forced resettlement and extinction of entire ethnicities by disease or warfare.
Chatters went on to publish a book. When anthropologist Joseph Powell was finally allowed to examine the remains his conclusions that the Kennewick Man was not European but most closely resembled South Asians and the Ainu of northeast Asia contradicted Chatters.
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