Tala Samoa, Samoan News from Seattle/Tacoma
New Study places Kennewick man's DNA closer to Native American tribes
By Helen Thompson
JUNE 18, 2015
For about 9,000 years, his bones lay entombed in earth, an unknown record of early life in the Americas. But since a chance find in the 1990s, the remains have been at the nexus of a scientific and political firestorm over the ancestry of this ancient individual. Now, the first genome analysis of Kennewick Man, or “the wise one”, is adding fresh fuel to the flame.
Contrary to previous results based on the size and shape of the skeleton, the DNA analysis, published today in Nature, suggests that Kennewick Man is more closely related to modern Native Americans than any other population of modern humans. While the researchers were not able to link the skeleton to a specific contemporary Native American group, the study could have implications for the fierce debate over who should be its modern caretakers.
“We will never be able to say what population, what individual in the Americas, is most closely related to [Kennewick Man] simply because most Native Americans haven’t been sequenced,” says Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author on the study. “What we can say is that Kennewick Man is more closely related to some Native American groups than others.”
The modern saga of Kennewick Man began in 1996, when college students stumbled upon some bones along the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, and called the police. Radiocarbon dating put the skeleton at about 9,000 years old. The remains consist of roughly 300 bone fragments, making it one of the most complete ancient skeletons unearthed in the Americas.
Because the bones were discovered on federal land, they fell into the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When five tribes from the area claimed Kennewick Man as their ancestor and called for his return and reburial under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the corps was inclined to grant their request. Once reburied, the skeleton would no longer be available for scientific study.
However, early analysis suggested that the bones might be anatomically different from those of modern Native Americans, in which case NAGPRA might not apply. The results sparked an eight-year-long legal conflict between a group of scientists who wanted to study Kennewick Man, the tribes and the corps. In 2004, a court ruled in favor of the scientists.
“It was always about being able to ask questions,” says Doug Owsley, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a plaintiff on the lawsuit. Figuring out Kennewick Man's lineage would not only establish the legal case but might also provide important clues to the peopling of the Americas, such as who the first Americans were and what they were like. Ancient human skeletons are incredibly rare, especially in the Americas. Thus far, only a few significant remains have been found in a cave in Mexico and on the plains of Montana.
Subsequent studies linked Kennewick Man to Europeans, Native Americans and Asian populations. Led by Owsley, a team undertook a thorough analysis of the Kennewick Man’s life history—from what he looked like to when he died. Based on skull morphology, the team suggested that his bones most resembled those of the Ainu people of Japan and a Polynesian group called the Moriori.
One thing lacking from this extensive skeletal study was DNA—it degrades over time, and it can be difficult to extract from ancient remains, depending on their condition. Attempts to extract and sequence samples from Kennewick Man in the 1990s and early 2000s were fruitless.
Researchers in Eske Willerslev's GeoGenetics lab at the University of Copenhagen worked in a clean room to reduce contamination from modern genes when extracting ancient DNA from a hand bone of the Kennewick Man. (Mikal Schlosser )But genetic technology has come a long way since then. “We can now get information out of shorter pieces of DNA, and given the very degraded DNA in Kennewick Man, that’s absolutely key for addressing these questions,” says Morten Rasmussen, a geneticist and co-author on the study. Rasmussen, Willerslev and their colleagues have had previous successes reconstructing ancient human genomes and determining their ancestry. When a colleague offered them a Kennewick Man bone sample with permission from the corps, they jumped at the opportunity.
From 200 milligrams of a hand bone, the team carefully extracted pieces of DNA, pasted these fragments together, reconstructed a genome and sequenced it. Using a few different statistical strategies, they compared Kennewick Man to genomes from around the world, including the Ainu and Polynesians, as well as DNA sequences from other ancient American skeletons. One of the five Native American tribes claiming ancestry, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, also submitted genetic samples for comparison.
The team found that Kennewick Man’s genes have more in common with Native Americans than any other group alive today. The results show “convincingly that Kennewick is a member of the same broad population as most present-day Native Americans,” says David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard University who was not affiliated with the study.
Though they were not able to directly link the Kennewick Man to any specific modern tribe, the researchers argue that the Colville people may be more closely related to Kennewick Man than other Native Americans. Two possible scenarios emerge from the analysis. First, around 9,200 years ago, an ancient population of humans in North America split into two braches. One produced Kennewick Man a few hundred years later, and one gave rise to modern Native Americans, including the Colville. In the second scenario, Kennewick Man could be a direct ancestor of the Colville, and over time, an influx of DNA from other groups could have made that connection hard to distinguish.
That said, it is still possible that other tribes are even more closely related to Kennewick Man than the Colville. Reich is optimistic that the findings might encourage other tribes to donate genetic samples. Sequencing more genomes and unearthing more skeletons could provide some context, Owsley points out. “It doesn’t surprise me one bit that you could show connections with Asia and connections in the Americas,” he says. “It’s fantastic that more research is continuing. It’s amazing that we can get DNA analysis at all.”
While this isn’t the final word on Kennewick Man’s ancestry, the new analysis makes a compelling argument for what can be learned from ancient DNA, notes Mark Stoneking, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. “Morphology is not always a reliable indicator [of ancestry],” he says. Anthropologists on Willerslev’s team also reevaluated Kennewick Man’s skull, and they argue that connecting him to any population based on the shape of his bones would require more skeletons from the same culture.
As to the case for reburial, Owsley points out that the way NAGPRA defines “Native American” requires a link to a specific modern tribe or culture, so even with the new DNA work in hand, the case isn't conclusive. But he ultimately plans to leave that decision to the judiciary system.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/genome-analysis-links-kennewick-man-native-americans-180955638/#VLZkupAvWglhlqYL.99
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History of Seattle's most visited Beach(Alki Park & beach) in the State of Washington.
By Suluama Teresa Vivolo
Alki Beach is the site of the landing of the first white settlers in Seattle on a cold, stormy day in November of 1851. Chief Seattle and his tribe greeted them and helped them build their cabin to stave off the cold, wet winter.
The beach enjoys minus tides that reveal a wide expanse of sandy beach. Partly protected by a seawall, Alki Beach is a summer park destination. The park begins at Alki Point and extends 2.5 miles to Duwamish Head, the mouth of the Duwamish River. "Duwamish" comes from a Chinook word "duwampsh," meaning "many-colored river," and was one of the first names proposed for the city that is now Seattle.
By 1902 the beach was so popular that it became the destination of the new electric street railway line, "all the way from Seattle."
To add attraction to the beach, Chas. Looff built an elaborate amusement park on pilings at Duwamish Head (you can still see the pilings at low tide!), and called it Luna Park after its Coney Island, NY namesake. The park, completed in 1907, included the "Powers Natatorium and Bathhouse" with several heated saltwater pools, a huge German carousel, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a restaurant, and a boat chute into a "tub" of water.
In 1910 this section of beach became the first part of the park, and was also the first municipal saltwater beach on the west coast. The Alki Bathhouse, built in 1911, was the first of its kind.
In 1908 L. G. Mecklem flew Seattle's first flight: an air balloon ride from Luna Park to the Meadows Race Track in Georgetown. A fire razed Luna Park in 1931. In 1945 the City acquired the site, and in 1954 filled it in.
The Statue of Liberty, a small replica of the original "Liberty Enlightening the World" in New York City, was a gift from Reginald H. Parsons and the Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1952. The statue has become such a symbol of liberty and courage that it became a place to mourn, to reflect, and to leave mementos after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Since 1973, a marker has commemorated the 45 lives lost when in 1906 the steamer Dix collided with the steamer Jeanie off Duwamish Head, a somber reminder of the power of the sea.
Injured Sea-Tac ramp worker Brandon Afoa is awarded $40 million
By Keith EldridgeApr 1, 2015
SEATAC, Wash. -- A ground crew member severely injured at Sea-Tac Airport in 2007 was awarded $40 million by a King County jury on Tuesday.
Brandon Afoa of Puyallup is a paraplegic because of the incident. His daily life has drastically changed from his days of operating heavy vehicles at Sea-Tac -- such as the tugs that push back the planes.
"Not only through life, but going through medical stuff. It's a huge change in my life," he said.
Back in 2007 Afoa got into a life-changing collision when the brakes and steering on his tug failed. His legal team put together animation of the incident since the port didn't preserve the actual video. Afoa says he managed to keep the rig from smashing into the jumbo jet and other ground workers.
But he crashed into a broken luggage lift, which crushed his spine.
"Everything went numb. My eyes were open, but everything was feeling numb," he said.
The crash left Afoa a triplegic with no use of his legs or his dominant right arm. He needs daily help from caregivers just to survive.
The case has been locked in the courts because the Port of Seattle contended it wasn't liable for what happened. Afoa actually worked for a private company, but the state supreme court ruled the airport had a "duty to provide a safe working environment."
On Tuesday a King County jury awarded Afoa $40 million because of what the incident has done to his life.
"It was a relief and I'm very thankful for the jury for making an awesome decision," Afoa said.
Sea-Tac airport issued a statement following the judgement, saying, "The Port of Seattle expresses our deepest sympathies to Mr. Afoa and his family for this unfortunate accident. The port is currently reviewing the decision of the court."
There's no word yet on whether the port will appeal the verdict which could delay payment of the award.
Afoa says it's his faith that keeps him going.
"I believe that we serve a big God. He's brought me throughout these whole 7 years. If it wasn't for Him, I wouldn't be here," he said.
"Paul" Patu, South Pacific Islander advocate, dies at 70
By Suluama Laaumea Patu Vivolo
Von Tresckow “Paul” Patu, a longtime advocate for Seattle’s South Pacific Islander immigrant community and a Seattle Public Schools community liaison, has died.
For more than half his life, Von Tresckow “Paul” Patu did everything he could to persuade Seattle’s young South Pacific Islanders to stay in school. Mr. Patu calmed student disturbances, mended relationships between sometimes-sparring minority communities and, according to his family and friends, never budged from his trademark good humor during 30 years as a community liaison for Seattle Public Schools.
Mr. Patu, a native of the island of Tonga and husband to Seattle School Board member Betty Patu, died Tuesday of kidney failure. He was 70.
Mr. Patu was born Oct. 30, 1944, to a pair of successful business owners in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, one of a chain of tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Australia. He spent his early life in Tonga before his father Mr. Pila Patu a Samoan Native, sent him and his two brothers to high school in California. His father once a self made Millionaire of Vaiala Samoa and the island of Nukualofa Tonga in the late 60s-80s.
Mr. Paul Patu met Betty, a Samoan native who would later become his wife.
“My mom decided that he would be the right husband for me,” said Betty Patu, who has served on the School Board since 2009. “She kind of set it up.”
Mr. Patu married Betty in California on Jan. 7, 1967. He served five years in the Air Force and also briefly designed airplane wings before the couple and Betty Patu’s parents moved to Seattle in 1972.
In Seattle, Mr. Patu started a coalition of people to bring housing, health-care and job services to Pacific Islander immigrants drawn to the area by family ties and the hope of better job opportunities.
Living conditions for Pacific Islanders at the time were dire, Betty Patu said. Multiple families shared a single apartment. Few spoke English.
Mr. Patu, who spoke English and three Pacific Islander languages, served as a community liaison with the city and quickly became an asset as Seattle tried to handle a growing number of immigrants from the islands, Betty Patu said.
“He didn’t take no for an answer,” she said. “If something needed to be done, he would keep pushing until he (got) it.”
In the early 1970s, Mr. Patu helped calm a clash between Samoan and African-American students at Sharples Junior High School by meeting separately with each group’s parents. Shortly after, Seattle Public Schools hired him to coordinate services for South Pacific Islander students, a role he filled until retiring in 2003.
King County Council member Larry Gossett, a longtime friend of the Patu family, said Mr. Patu was an unpretentious worker who always wanted to help. “He’s helped hundreds of young kids return to school, to stop skipping,” Gossett said.
This great honor was given to Paul Patu in 2008 by the City of Seattle's Mayor Greg Nickels and the Metropolitan King County Council, presented by King County Councilman Larry Gossett for Paul's 30 plus years of service to the South Pacific Islander Community. He was recognized as one of King County's most important and influential leaders. Please join King County on May 24th 2015 in remembering Paul's Legacy of Service.
Mr. Patu was proud that all five of his children graduated from high school and received college degrees, said his daughter Virginia Patu-Owens. “He himself is a living witness to what education can do for you,” Owens said. “He just knows that it leads to a better life.”
Mr. Patu attended city and school-district meetings even after retiring, Owens said.
In 2008, Mr. Patu underwent emergency surgery after a stroke and brain aneurysm. He died at home in his sleep Tuesday.
Along with his wife, Betty, and daughter Virginia Owens, Mr. Patu is survived by daughter Annie Patu, daughter Matelita Jackson and husband Mandel Jackson, son Paul Patu and wife Shantel Patu, son Saul Patu and wife Alana Patu, 22 grandchildren, one great-grandchild, sisters Virginia Fetineia'i Patu-Samuelu and Nina Olafou Patu-Scanlan and brother Sam Solomoga Patu.
May he rests is Love & Peace till we meet again.