SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man is related to modern Native American tribes.

The Northwestern Division of the corps announced Wednesday that its decision was based on review of new information, particularly recently published DNA and skeletal analyses. The corps says the remains are now covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The corps says the next step is to review the priority of custody for any Native American tribe that submits a claim. The 9,000-year-old remains were discovered in 1996 in southeastern Washington near the Columbia River in Kennewick, triggering a lengthy legal fight between tribes and scientists. The bones will remain at the Burke Museum in Seattle during the NAGPRA process.

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