The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe concludes that the Afton Wastewater and Treatment Facility will have an adverse effect on the Rattlesnake Effigy Mound including “the possibility of further desecration”
Letter from Teanna Limpy, THPO, Northern Cheyenne Nation, Lame Deer, Montana, to Corey Mathisen, Senior Engineer, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4194, RE: City of Afton Wastewater & Treatment Facility Afton, Washington County MnHPO Number: 2015-1403
Dear Mr. Mathisen,
We are writing in response to the ‘no adverse effect’ finding, as determined by the MPCA, pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Upon review of the current proposal to construct a Wastewater and Treatment Facility within the APE of the Rattlesnake Effigy Mound; we have concluded that this will have a direct impact on tribal cultural resources, as well as an adverse effect on traditional knowledge and cultural resources that my tribe, as well as other area tribes hold in high regard. As per the 36 CFR 800 regulations and specifically 36 CFR 800.5 (c)(1), our objection to the project is outlined as follows:
Minnesota was once home to the Cheyenne people, and we still hold our ancestral lands in high regard. The Cheyenne ancestral land base extends from Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains, and we have maintained a continued presence there by ensuring that our cultural identity is preserved by protecting the integrity of sites that may have historically been affiliated with our tribe. The rattlesnake effigy mound was determined by the Minnesota State Historical Preservation Office and consulting tribes to be a site that is eligible to the National Register of Historic Places under criterion A, C, and D. Therefore, additional construction of pipelines within the previously determined buffer zone threatens the existing archaeological integrity of the Rattlesnake Effigy mound, in that further construction in this area may result in permanent loss of cultural resources for future generations,
Finally, our concerns echo those of other tribal nations, and additional government-to-government consultation is needed so tribes can provide valuable input that can mitigate potential losses for both sides in the future. It is with my highest recommendation that a mitigation plan be created for avoidance of directional drilling under and within the buffer zone of the Rattlesnake effigy mound. The possibility of further desecration to this sacred area alarms tribes, in that there is an increased potential for loss of significant archaeological and cultural resources that contribute to our traditional cultural and ecological knowledge that has maintained our way of life. Thank you for your time and effort in considering our comments.
Sincerely, Teanna Limpy, THPO