“…the entire area as a whole is part of the cultural teachings including oral history [which] identify more than just the mound itself to be of importance to the Dakota and Oceti Sakowin”

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate does not concur in the MPCA finding on the desecration of the Afton Rattlesnake Mound

swo-thpoLetter from Dianne Desrosiers, SWO THPO, Agency Village, SD, to Corey Mathisen, Senior Engineer, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Re: Afton Wastewater Collection and Treatment System MnHP0 #: 2015-1403, August 30, 2016

Mr. Mathisen:

We are writing in response the MPCA section 106 findings on the City of Afton Old Village Improvements Project dated August 2, 2016 as per our responsibilities in the Section 106 process according to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended). As per the 36 CFR 800 regulations and specifically 36 CFR 800.5 (c)(1) we are now providing written documentation of objection to the MPCA’s finding of no adverse effects.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, on behalf of our cultural preservation board and numerous other concerned tribes and tribal members of the Oceti Sakowin, has made clear and continued effort to address the issues surrounding this project since first notification and particularly since February 19, 2016. At that time, we conveyed critical concerns about the lack of defined area of potential effect (APE) and stated that certainly for us as a Dakota tribe and a part of the Oceti Sakowin, we define the area of potential effect to be the entire area of the mound including the exterior areas of the mound site as a part of the burial site with the potential for disturbance of human remains. I would like to refer to the attached letter by Nigel Parry to Tamara StJohn and the SWO THPO, Sept 1, 2016. This letter relates to the artifacts and human remains at the site and also acknowledges the Minnesota cemetery law. The letter also speaks to our assertion of the mound complex with potential for burials in between the mound areas to be significant.

We would like to reiterate that the entire area as a whole is a part of the cultural teachings including oral history identify more than just the mound itself to be of importance to the Dakota and Oceti Sakowin. I am attaching an email from Crow Creek Sioux Tribe THPO stating their opposition to the determination as well. I will also be requesting that the other tribes who have brought us concerns about the project, attach their comments with ours as a part of the Oceti Sakowin and aboriginal tribes.

The SWO THPO continues to concur with the MnSHPO in the determination of Rattlesnake mound (21WA10) as being eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under criteria A, C, and D and with the reiteration of recommendation that the evaluation of the site be fully documented according to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for evaluation as well as the requirement for archaeological survey and inventory. SWO THPO also recommends that the field site N5.5 E12 now (21WA0166) be evaluated for NRHP eligibility. It is our determination that both sites as National Register eligible properties, should be afforded protection as such under the National Historic Preservation Act.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and the SWO THPO do not agree with your determination of ‘No Adverse Effect”.

Sincerely, Dianne Desrosiers SWO THPO

[Note: The enclosures mentioned above will be published later, on their own, at this website.]

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