Archives 324

"Kennewick Man on Trial" Recordings & Records


Acquisition And Processing Information

These materials were acquired by the Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, & Special Collections (MASC) from Bob Curry of Washington State University Radio/TV on October 1, 2004, and retained as accession UA2004-17. It was processed in August 2012 by Katrina Burch following organizational work done by Susan Vetter.

Extent/Quantity Information

Number of containers: 1 box

Linear feet of shelf space: 1

Organizational History

Kennewick Man is the name given to skeletal remains of a prehistoric man found in Kennewick, Washington in 1996. A long legal battle soon ensued over the remains, which are estimated to be between the ages of 5,650 and 9,510 years old. The controversy of who the remains belong to was the main issue of the legal battle. In 2004, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction to return the remains to Northwest Tribes and determined that the remains did not fall under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). As of 2012 the remains reside in the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington where they are being held in safe keeping while ongoing scientific tests are conducted.

Washington State College first developed its own television programming in 1950-1952, and began its own television channel in 1962, originally as KWSC-TV, and then later as KWSU-TV. These are managed through the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

Collection Description

The collection contains eighteen video cassette tapes, most of which were apparently used for a KWSU production of a program titled “Kennewick Man on Trial." This program was primarily filmed during an October 22 & 23, 1999 lecture series given at Seattle's Burke Museum during the legal battles, and aired in March, 2000. Also included in the collections are tapes recorded in Richland, Washington, apparently from the same program.

Though described here as "video cassette tapes," these are not the more common VHS tapes. With that in mind, please be aware that MASC does not currently have the capability to play any of these formats; researchers wishing to view them should contact MASC in advance so arrangements for the relevant equipment can be made. Due to our inability to play all tapes, some of the tapes may be redundant, but during processing we chose to risk redundancy rather than risk discarding something unique.

Also in this collection are papers relating to the production of “Kennewick Man on Trial” and to the legal battle over the remains.


The papers in this collection are arranged into two small series: Kennewick Man and the legal cases, and the production of “Kennewick Man on Trial”. Both series are arranged alphabetically. The video cassette tapes are arranged by date; an original numbering was incorporated so as to maintain the original order (e.g. the tapes from 10/22/1999, numbered one to five, and now numbered 7.1. to 7.5).


This collection is open and available for research use. Copyright applies.

Preferred Citation

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
"Kennewick Man on Trial" Recordings & Records, 1996-2004 (Archives 324)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA

Container List

Box Folder / Tape Description
11Kennewick Man-Legal issues, 1996-1997
2Kennewick Man-Newspaper articles relating to legal battle, 1997-2004
3Production-Correspondence, 1997-2000
4Production-Planning and Schedule, 1996-2000
5Production-Publicity, 1999-2000
6Production-Requests for permission, 1999-2000
7.1-7.5Kennewick Man-#1-5. 126L Tapes. 10/22/1999
8.1Kennewick Man, M90LTape, 10/23/1999
8.1AKennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.2Kennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.2AKennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.3Kennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.4Kennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.5Kennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
8.5AKennewick Man, M90L Tape, 10/23/1999
9Kennewick Man-Dr. Dave Thomas, M90L Tape, 5/16/2000
10.1-10.2Kennewick Man-Richland, M90L Tapes, 5/23/2000
11Kennewick Man-Richland-Armand Minthorn, M90L Tapes, 5/24/2000
12.2Kennewick Man-#2 (12.1 missing at time of processing), M20S Tapes. 2/21/2000